British broadcaster ITV announced in a trading update this morning that it returned to overall revenue growth in Q3, as growth in ITV Studios and the broadcaster’s digital ads business more than accounted for a year-on-year fall in linear TV ad revenues.
In its half year update earlier in the year, ITV had slipped to a one percent drop in total revenues, due largely to an 11 percent fall in total ad revenues. But the third quarter was much more positive for the broadcaster. As a result, ITV has swung back into overall growth for the first nine months of the year, with total revenues up one percent year-on-year to £2,975 million.
ITV’s production arm ITV Studios was once again the star of the show, with total growth of nine percent. This part of the business overtook media and entertainment in the previous quarter as making up the majority of ITV’s revenues. Total Studio’s revenues reached £1,516 for the first nine months of the year, around 51 percent of total revenues.
And while total ad revenues were still down, there were signs of improvement. Total advertising revenues for the first nine months of the year were down by seven percent. But given that total ad revenues were down by 11 percent for the first half of the year, this suggests that ad revenues were stronger in Q3. This might be thanks in part to ITV’s coverage of the men’s rugby world cup, but is also down to growth in ad revenues from ITV’s streaming service ITVX.
ITV’s digital revenues were up by 23 percent across the first nine months of the year, driven by 27 percent growth on total streaming hours.
The broadcaster still expects a significant overall fall in total ad revenues of eight percent across the whole year. This is due to a mix of tough comparables with Q4 of 2022, when ITV broadcasted the FIFA men’s world cup, as well as a continued soft TV ad market.
On the latter, ITV says it is shifting £10 million worth of content spend back, rescheduling content for 2024, when it hopes to drive stronger ad revenues through that content.