ITV expects advertising growth of 2pc this year

Oliver Smith
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TELEVISION network ITV is expecting a strong fourth quarter to push advertising revenues up two per cent this year, but some analysts predict Britain’s biggest public service commercial broadcaster will beat even its own best expectations.

Yesterday ITV reported national advertising growth in the nine months to 30 September up one per cent to £1.08bn, with total company revenue up six per cent to £1.6bn beating forecasts.

“We continue to make good progress with our strategy of growing and strengthening ITV both creatively and commercially, and all parts of the business are performing well,” said ITV chief executive Adam Crozier.

Crozier has been widening the broadcaster’s revenue base to lessen its reliance on the advertising market by investing in its production arm, along with its online and pay and interactive TV operations.

The company said its ITV Studios division, whose reality show I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here opened with an average audience of 12m viewers on Sunday, saw revenue growth of 11 per cent during the period to £555m.

“ITV’s core TV ad business is fine… and I think its guidance for the fourth quarter is conservative, if you look at the advertising momentum in the market at the moment, it

certainly appears to be growing,” Liberum Capital media analyst Ian Whittaker told City AM.

“We think it can probably do better than the two per cent ad revenue growth for the full year, there’ll be a little bit more advertising growth that will come through in the fourth quarter.”

Investors were more bearish on the news yesterday and, despite Numis raising its target price to 229p, ITV’s share price fell 2.3 per cent to 184.7p.