ITV profits fall in tough year as group hails ‘bounce back’

ITV expects 2018 revenues to grow
ITV expects 2018 revenues to grow

Broadcasting giant ITV has posted a 6% fall in profits after a “challenging” 2017, but said advertising sales are bouncing back thanks to a strong line-up including Dancing On Ice and the forthcoming Fifa World Cup.

The group, which owns UTV, reported underlying pre-tax profits of £800 million for last year, down from £847m in 2016, after advertising sales fell 5% to £1.6 billion, affected by the “uncertain economic environment”.

New boss Carolyn McCall, who started work last month after seven years as CEO ateasyJet, praised a strong performance and said a “strategic refresh” was under way.

She added that ITV had seen a “great start” to 2018 and the group is expecting advertising revenues to continue recovering in the first half, with growth of 1% in the first quarter and growth in the Q2, helped by the World Cup football tournament.

“There is no doubt that ITV’s operational performance in 2017 in a challenging environment was strong,” she said.

“We are very focused on our strategic refresh. This will enable us to define a clear strategy and priorities that will highlight the opportunities and address the challenges that we face in an increasingly competitive media landscape. This project is well under way.”

Ms McCall will report back at the firm’s interim results.

ITV’s profits fall for 2017 confirmed the hit to the group from Brexit uncertainty as advertisers reined in their spending.