Digital Revenues Drive Overall Ad Growth for ITV, but Linear Continues to Fall

Tim Cross 09 May, 2024 

ITV reported its Q1 financial results this morning and, like other European broadcasters which have already posted their results, reported a return to growth for advertising revenues, which were up three percent year-on-year. But while some, including RTL and TF1, have seen growth in both traditional broadcast advertising and digital advertising revenues, for ITV growth was driven solely by digital, which were up 14 percent. Linear revenues meanwhile continued to fall.

The next quarter is predicted to be even stronger, boosted by ad spend around the upcoming men’s European Championships. ITV expects Q2 ad revenue growth of 12 percent year-on-year, with H1 revenues up 8 percent.

Despite ad revenues rising, ITV’s total external revenues were down by six percent year-on-year, due to a 16 percent drop in revenues from its production arm ITV Studios. The timing is somewhat unfortunate – falls in ad revenue in recent quarters have generally countered rising studio revenues, and now that ad revenues are growing again, studio revenues are falling.

But ITV says the drop in production revenues is temporary, caused by last year’s Hollywood strikes which shifted some production revenues which would’ve come in this year back to 2025. The broadcaster is still confident in the long term health of ITV Studios – it expects broadly flat revenues this year, but forecasts an average of five percent organic growth per year between 2021 and 2026.

Behind the numbers

ITV didn’t break out specific revenue figures for linear and digital ad revenues in its results, but figures from last year’s Q1 report show the full picture.

Total ad revenue last year was £419 million, of which £87 million was digital, implying linear ad revenues of £332 million. Total ad revenues this year hit £432 million. Digital ad revenues rose 14 percent, implying a figure of around £99 million – close to the landmark £100 million point. Thus linear ad revenues presumably came in at £323, a fall of just under three percent.

The upcoming Euros however is likely to deliver a boost to linear ad revenues in the coming quarter. And ITV, more than many European broadcasters, has been clear that its future lies in its streaming platform ITVX. Linear ad revenues falling isn’t problematic so long as digital ad revenues are growing, especially if linear ad spend is simply moving across to ITVX.

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About the Author:

Tim Cross is Assistant Editor at VideoWeek.
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