ITV registered drop in profits amid decline in TV advertising

The company presented the 2023 financial results and reported a 60% decrease in profits related to the decrease in advertising.

7 MAR 2024

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ITV presented its 2023 annual financial results. The company revealed it recorded a sharp drop in annual profits as a result of a drop in advertising revenue as well as the planned investment costs in its ITVX streaming service, dropping pre-tax profits by 61% to £193m. Group revenues fell by 2% to £4.3bn, with TV advertising down by 15%. Digital revenues rose by 19% and its studios arm recorded a 4% increase, to £2.2bn.

ITV struggled with a difficult advertising market which Carolyn McCall, chief executive of ITV, has described as the “worst advertising recession since the global financial crisis” of 2008. The slump in advertising was reflected in the biggest round of job cuts at Channel 4 in more than 15 years. McCall said it was “way too early” to discuss whether jobs would be affected. The company has already frozen hiring and clamped down on expenses.

“The advertising market last year was challenging to say the least but we expect this year to be better than last year,” said McCall. She added total advertising revenue was expected to be up 3% in the first quarter of 2024 helped by digital advertising revenues. ITV expects advertising to be bolstered by upcoming events including the Uefa Euro 2024 football championships in June.

In addition to this, the broadcaster said it would cut costs by £50m, on top of an existing drive to save £150m between 2019 and 2026. The new cuts will come mainly from technology and operational efficiencies. The broadcaster is focusing on higher growth through its studios business, which makes shows like “Love Island” as well as dramas such as “Mr Bates v the Post Office”, which was seen by 4 million viewers an episode when it was aired in January, and a further 10 million through the channel’s on-demand service, ITVX, and has now been sold to 12 markets worldwide.

“It shows the power of television,” said McCall. “Television is really brilliant at emotional engagement and moving people ... and moving them to action. ‘Mr Bates’ is one of the most brilliant examples of that. It has had such an impact on society and the public has risen up and the government is listening.”