Love Island (Courtesy of ITV)
U.K. broadcaster ITV increased external revenues by a strong 27% in the half year ending June 30, 2021, according to financial results released on Wednesday.
Total external revenue was up 27% at £1.54 billion ($2.14 billion), compared to COVID-impacted 2020’s £1.21 billion. Production and sales arm ITV Studios’ total revenue was up 26% at £798 million compared to 2020’s £632 million, with most programs, including flagship show “Love Island,” back in production and also benefitting from a number of programs and licences being delivered earlier than expected. ITV Studios external revenue was up 31% at £523 million.
Total media and entertainment revenue was up 25% at £1.02 billion, up from 2020’s £822 million, with total advertising revenue up 29% within which video on demand advertising (AVOD) was up 55%.
Advertising revenues in June were up 115% compared to the same period in 2020, a direct result of the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in the U.K. and the Euro soccer championship. Total advertising revenues for June and July 2021 is expected to be 16% higher than the same period in 2018 when ITV broadcast the soccer world cup and season 4 of “Love Island.”
However, despite a blockbuster June, which included broadcasts of “Unforgotten,” “Saturday Night Takeaway,” “The Masked Singer,” Euro 2020 and the start of “Love Island” season 7, linear viewing was down 6%. On the other hand, ITV’s VOD platform Hub showed a growth of 6%. Registered users for Hub were up 7% at 34.6 million and monthly active users were also up 7%.
Elsewhere, ITV profits (Adjusted group Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization) were up 98% at £327 million, significantly boosted from 2020’s £165 million. This was driven by recovery in the advertising market, resumption of productions; and cost control delivering £21 million of savings, of which £15 million are permanent.
BritBox U.K., the streamer ITV operates alongside BBC Studios, grew 10% with some 555,000 new subscriptions. BritBox International is performing well in the U.S., Canada and Australia, growing 18% with two million subscribers between the markets. The South Africa launch is set for August, followed by other territories.
Carolyn McCall, ITV chief executive, said: “Our H1 results demonstrate that ITV is emerging from the worst effects of the pandemic. We’ve continued to implement our key strategic priorities and have further strengthened the business. Total external revenue was up 27% driven by 26% growth in ITV Studios revenue and a 29% increase in total advertising revenue within which total video on demand advertising was up 55%.”
“We are now a more flexible, more efficient and more digital business,” McCall added. “We have successfully completed the first phase of our More Than TV strategy and look forward to building on this platform to accelerate our transformation to a digitally led media and entertainment company. We are optimistic about the future, despite the ongoing pandemic risk on our advertising and ITV Studios revenues.”
ITV’s upcoming scripted pipeline includes “Vera, “The Bay,” “Noughts and Crosses” season 2, “Holding,” “Snowpiercer,” “Balthazar,” “Romulus” season 2 and “Gomorrah.”
The broadcaster said it is on track to double revenues from streaming platforms in 2021 compared to 2020.
Variety's Naman Ramachandran contributed to this post.