ITV published their full year results for 2020 this morning, revealing that despite the negative impact of COVID on the broadcaster’s revenues, its SVOD service saw growth over the last year and advertising grew across its AVOD properties.
ITV saw its overall revenues for 2020 drop by 16 percent to £2.78 billion. ITV Studios, the company’s production business, was badly hit by the pandemic, with revenues down 25 percent. Despite an 11 per cent drop in broadcast advertising revenue, VOD advertising revenue went up by 17 per cent in 2020.
On the SVOD side, ITV say they now have over 2.6 million subscribers spread across BritBox UK, BritBox Australian and BritBox US.
ITV’s CEO Carolyn McCall was upbeat about 2020 in spite of the losses in revenue in the broadcast and production side of the business. She particularly highlighted the roll-out of Planet V, ITV’s programmatic addressable advertising platform, as a success. McCall said that Planet V’s capabilities meant more big advertisers were thinking “very specifically” about running VOD-only campaigns going forward.
McCall also highlighted BritBox as a success this past year. BritBox is ITV’s SVOD joint venture with the BBC, and has UK, US and Australian versions of the platform. McCall says BritBox UK is “ahead of plan” as it hit half a million subscribers at the end of January 2021. BritBox US also saw success in the last year, with subscribers going up by 50 percent in 2020. BritBox Australia launched in November, and the SVOD service is set to expand into South Africa in the second half of this year.
The ITV Executive said that BritBox’s strategy to expand subscriber numbers going forward was to produce what she called “distinctive” original content, such as the service’s first original Spitting Image.
In terms of ITV’s AVOD offering, ITV Hub, the broadcaster took a major hit as ‘event TV’ shows, most notably Love Island, and live sporting fixtures were cancelled. However, ITV Hub still managed to increase its registered users by 6 per cent, reaching 32.6 million.
Despite a tough year, ITV’s financials were actually better than forecast. “While total revenues and profits were down our financial performance was ahead of expectations driven by a strong end to Q4 and our firm control over costs,” Carolyn McCall told analysts.
However, despite stronger Q4 results, the broadcaster still projects a six per cent year-on-year loss in advertising revenue in Q1.
“We are encouraged by the roadmap out of lockdown. We are seeing more positive trends in the advertising market in March and April and the majority of our programmes are now back in production.” McCall said, “However, there remains uncertainty in all markets around the world with the potential risk of lockdowns, which if they materialise will affect revenues. We are committed to taking further cost out of the business while further investing to accelerate the delivery of our strategy and digital transformation.”