ITV (ITV.L) reported an 18% jump in revenue for the first three months of the year to £834m ($1.03bn) as the UK broadcaster saw a surge in advertising.
In a trading update for the three months to March 31, 2022, broadcasting company behind hit shows including Love Island and I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! said total ad revenues jumped 16% to £468m.
It reported “particularly strong” period of new and returning programmes for its Studios production arm.
ITV Studios deliveries included a second series of Noughts and Crosses and of Physical, new dramas Murder in Provence and Holding, and Miss Marple series Why Didn't They Ask Evans. Total ITV Studios revenue was up 23% at £458m.
However, the company also reiterated previous comments that “advertising comparatives get much tougher in the second quarter and third quarter,” given last year’s Euro soccer tournament which helped ad revenues rocket 89% higher. ITV added that it was also “mindful of the macroeconomic and geopolitical uncertainty.”
It said April also saw a strong performance, with ad revenues up 9%, though it is braced for a steep decline over the rest of the second quarter, forecasting a drop of around 8% in May and 15% in June.
The group said: “As expected, advertising comparatives get much tougher in the second quarter and third quarter against the Euro football championships in 2021 and we are mindful of the macroeconomic and geopolitical uncertainty.”
ITV shares have fallen 39% in the year to date, versus a 1.9% fall in the FTSE 100 Index.
ITV still expects the first half as a whole to see ad revenues lift 5% thanks to the bumper first quarter.
Chief executive Carolyn McCall said the group was on track to launch its new on-demand platform called ITVX in the final three months of the year.
McCall said: “We are making good progress in our goal to supercharge streaming by increasing our hours of content by 50% in the quarter to 6,000 hours and making available the majority of scripted programmes in full for streaming at the same time as the initial broadcast.
“All of this provides a solid foundation for ITVX – our free, ad-funded streaming service – which is on track for launch in the fourth quarter and we remain confident that we will deliver at least £750m of digital revenue by 2026.”
Overall spend on programmes are expected to reach £1.23bn this year and £1.35bn next year.
ITV is seen as a likely possible suitor for Channel 4, the state-owned UK broadcaster that the government is planning to privatise.
Watch: Government reinforces intention to privatise Channel 4