The group behind shows including I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here! said advertising spend dropped 7 percent in the third quarter, following a 43 percent plunge in the previous three months. It forecast total ad revenues to rise slightly in the fourth quarter, with a 6 percent bounce-back expected in November, as it hailed the success of programmes such as the Duke of Cambridge’s documentary A Planet For Us All and crime drama Des for driving “mass audiences”. Its production arm has also resumed the majority of its productions since the disruption caused by the spring lockdown, with the latest series of I’m A Celebrity being broadcast from Sunday.
But it warned that the second national coronavirus lockdown in England and ongoing UK restrictions elsewhere will continue to knock revenues and make it “challenging” to bring production back to full capacity.
ITV chief executive Carolyn McCall said: “Advertising trends are improving, with the fourth quarter forecast to be slightly up year on year and 85 percent of our productions in the UK and internationally that were paused as a result of Covid-19 are back in production or have been delivered.
“However, Covid restrictions and further national lockdowns have added production costs and are making it challenging to bring ITV Studios productions back to full capacity.”
ITV saw profit before tax crash 93 percent to £15million in the first half of the financial year, on revenue of £1.45billion, as it was knocked by the effects of the pandemic.
This came despite the number of people watching broadcast television increasing for the first time since 2011 as Britons were stuck at home amid the pandemic.