ITV Chief Executive, Carolyn McCall, has called the the last few months “one of the most challenging times in the history of ITV” in her presentation of the ITV PLC half year results, but also pointed to signs of recovery.

The results showed that ITV Studios’ enforced pause on the majority of its productions globally as a result of the restrictions on working practises, drove a 17% decline in total ITV Studios revenues in H1 to £630 million (2019: £758 million).

There was also significant decline in the demand for advertising across most advertising categories with total advertising revenue down 43% in Q2 and down 21% in H1.

Total external revenue fell 17% to £1,218 million (2019: £1,476 million).

McCall said: “While our two main sources of revenue – production and advertising – were down significantly in the first half of the year and the outlook remains uncertain, today we are seeing an upward trajectory with productions restarting and advertisers returning to take advantage of our highly effective mass reach and addressable advertising platform, in a brand safe environment.”

She also revealed that SVOD service BritBox “is ahead of target on subscribers in the UK.” Plans have already been announced to roll out the service internationally.

Coronation Street and Emmerdale and a small number of other productions started back  in June and now, of the 230 productions that were impacted or paused by the lockdown, around 70% have been delivered or are back in production as of today.

McCall said: “The future is still uncertain due to the pandemic but the action we have taken to manage and mitigate the impact of COVID-19 puts us in a good position to continue to invest in our strategy of transforming ITV into a digitally led media and entertainment company.”

Jon Creamer

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