ITV’s shrinking audience share scares investors

BROADCASTER ITV saw its audience share fall to 21.6 per cent from 23.4 per cent a year ago during the first four months of the year, but chief executive Adam Crozier said a stronger line up of shows, including the start of the World Cup finals in June, would help it recover lost viewers.

ITV’s shares fell 6.23 per cent to 179.1p, leading the FTSE 100 fallers, after its second quarter forecast of 12 to 13 per cent advertising revenue growth and shrinking original cont-ent sales disappointed investors.

Meanwhile ITV’s annual general meeting yesterday saw 23 per cent of shareholders refusing to back Crozier’s controversial remuneration package that saw his pay package nearly trebled last year to £8.36m, from £2.9m a year earlier.

ITV has spent nearly £300m over the past 12 months to boost its ITV Studios division, and reported that revenue rose two per cent to £585m during the three months to the end of March.

ITV’s broadcast and online revenues received a boost of three per cent to £480m, driven by an expansion in advertising, while ITV Studios saw its revenue contract four per cent to £192m, which ITV said was due to the timing of delivering new programmes.

“While ITV Family share of viewing has been lower than expected so far this year, we have confidence in our strong schedule to come, including the football World Cup in June,” said Crozier. “We continue to make pro-gress with our strategy of growing and rebalancing the business in the UK and internationally.”

ITV’S ORIGINAL CONTENT SPENDING SPREE
■ May 2014 - Leftfield Entertainment for $360m
■ February 2014 - DiGa, maker of Teen Wolf, for an undisclosed sum
■ July 2013 - Big Talk, maker of Friday Night Dinner, for £12.5m
■ June 2013 - ThinkFactory Media, maker of Hatfields & McCoys, for $30m
■ May 2013 - High Noon for $25.65m

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