ITV Studios on course for $159 mil profit

BBC Olympics coverage dents ITV ad revenues

LONDON — Buoyed by the overseas success of fare like “Hell’s Kitchen” and Julian Fellowes-scripted “Titanic,” ITV Studios is on course to deliver more than £100 million ($159 million) in profit this year.

The production and distribution arm of the U.K. free-to-air broadcaster saw its revenues jump by 20% to £498 million ($791 million) for the first nine months to Sept. 30, compared with £416 million ($661 million) a year ago, as it announced its interim management statement.

The strong perf of the in-house production unit will reassure stockholders that CEO Adam Crozier is making progress with his five-year plan to make ITV less dependent on the vicissitudes of the ad market.

He said: “We have made further progress in reshaping and rebalancing ITV to ensure the business is more robust both commercially and creatively.

“ITV Studios has performed strongly as our strategy of investing in the creative pipeline and talent again shows through in our results.”

Crozier indicated that TV Studios has a strong pipeline of shows lined up for next year, and would love an in-house answer to “Downton Abbey,” which it commissions but is made by NBCUniversal-owned shingle Carnival.

“The number of new commissions and re-commissions already secured for 2013 gives us confidence that there will continue to be good underlying growth,” he said.

In Blighty, ITV reported a 6% year-on-year fall in ad revenues in the third quarter of 2012 as advertisers withheld coin while auds turned to the rival BBC to watch its Olympics coverage.