ITV yesterday showed it still has the X Factor, reporting an jump in advertising revenue off the back of the Rugby World Cup and hit shows like Downton Abbey.
However, the broadcaster is expecting the ad market to cool over an icy Christmas period, with projected revenues dipping as much as 10 per cent in December.
Advertising in the third quarter outperformed the market with an increase of one per cent, helping to boost its shares 3.3 per cent yesterday.
The firm’s production arm, ITV Studios – which chief executive Adam Crozier said must improve its performance when he took over last year – continued its forward momentum, with revenues up nine per cent year-on-year to £224m.
Overall revenues for the nine months to the end of September jumped four per cent to £1.5bn, with the market share for ITV’s family of channels increasing two per cent to take 23 per cent of the total.
Crozier said: “The continued management emphasis on cash generation and cost reduction has delivered further improvements to our financial position and we are on track to be net cash positive at year end. This is a substantial improvement given that our net debt stood at £612m at the beginning of 2010.
“We remain cautious on the outlook for 2012 with tough comparatives continuing into the first quarter before easing from the second.”