ITV’s revenues and profits slid into negative territory in the first half of the year, but CEO Carolyn McCall said the results were better than expected. The boss of Britain’s largest commercial broadcaster had previously warned that 2019 would partly be about mitigating losses for the company, as major advertisers brace for Brexit.
“The economic and political environment remains uncertain, but we are very focused on delivering our strategy and creating a stronger, more diversified and structurally sound business to enable ITV to take advantage of evolving viewing and advertising opportunities,” McCall said.
Total revenues were down 7% at £1.5 billion ($1.7 billion) in the first half of the year, compared to the same period last year. Ad revenues declined 5%. Adjusted EBITA profits were down 13% at £327 million. Programming and sales at distribution arm ITV Studios fell 6% to £758 million.
ITV said it remains on track to deliver £20 million in cost cuts in 2020. “We continue to deliver strongly on our cost savings where we are targeting, in addition to the original £35 million to £40 million, a further £5 million this year and £15 million between 2020 to 2022, totaling £55 million to £60 million over 2019 to 2022,” McCall said.
ITV has already announced the launch of the BritBox streamer in the U.K. and ITV said it is on track to become a digital entertainment company. In light of the latest financials, there will be more pressure on ITV to make a success of its new subscription SVOD service, in which the BBC also has a small share.
In programming news, ITV will start broadcasting two seasons of the hit reality show “Love Island” a year from 2020. One season of the sun-and-fun unscripted show will be shot in South Africa and the other in Europe.