Profits at ITV fell slightly in the first half of this year as the network gears up for the ITVX rollout, while total group revenue hit £1.9B ($2.3B), ITV Studios’ scripted hours almost doubled in the line with the five-year masterplan and the production arm was making more shows for streamers than ever.
The half-year results, unveiled in the past few minutes, saw EBITA fall 3% to £318M ($387M), with a far steeper fall in ITV network’s Media & Entertainment division, which encompasses commissioning and advertising, of 16% to £194M ($236M). Producer/distributor ITV Studios grew EBITA by an impressive 31% to £124M ($151M).
Having seen profits increase by more than 40% for the full-year last year, ITV put the slight profits decrease down to a boost in content spend of £58M and another £20M in data and technology for ITVX, the streaming service that will launch in Q4 and see shows made available months before they appear on linear. It is targeting 15,000 hours of content and one exclusive show per week. Additional content investment related to a combination of a return of key shows disrupted by COVID such as Love Island, and “front-footed investment,” according to ITV.
Revenues for the first half-year 2022 were up 9% to £1.9B as the COVID recovery continues.
ITV Studios’ revenues grew 16% and the producer/distributor also started making progress with its five-year masterplan to produce more drama and pick up more work from streaming platforms.
The Julian Bellamy-run Line of Duty outfit saw high-end scripted hours rocket by an impressive 82% and revenue from streaming platforms grow by 3pp to 19% of its total turnover. The mega scripted boost goes some way to fulfilling the five-year plan’s aim to double scripted hours by 2025 to 400, and that plan is also targeting a doubling of proportion of total revenue from streamers. The first half of 2022 saw ITV Studios deliver a second season of Apple TV+’s Physical and Netflix double Baby Fever and Bullsh*t The Game Show.
Seeking to aid with the scripted push, ITV Studios recently signed up Bad Robot exec and former BBC Drama Boss Ben Stephenson, who is launching a label within the production arm. On the non-scripted side, the company bought Hostile Planet producer Plimsoll Productions.
Despite the minor EBITA fall, ITV CEO Carolyn McCall hailed a “strong performance across the business” and pointed to opportunities in the second half of the year including the football World Cup in Qatar.
“We are on track against all the new KPIs and targets we announced earlier this year and we are very focussed on successfully launching ITVX, our new free ad-funded streaming service, in Q4,” she added, nodding to the new streaming strategy.