ITV changes schedule amid advertising decline
As Covid-19 limits everyday life in the UK, ITV has said it has witnessed an increasing impact on its advertising revenues and filming production.
Forecasts for March and April have deteriorated since ITV last updated the market on 16 March, while many shows - including Emmerdale, Loose Women and Coronation Street - were halting production.
"We are operating in unprecedented and uncertain times, requiring us to take difficult decisions, plan carefully and act with speed," said chief executive Carolyn McCall in a trading update on Monday (23 March).
"Our absolute priority is to protect our people, while trying to ensure that we deliver the news and programmes our viewers value and love to watch, and to keep them informed. We are actively taking measures to reduce costs and manage our cash flow so that we are best positioned to continue to deliver our strategy of building a digitally led media and entertainment company over the medium term."
Over a full year each 1% decline in total advertising revenue reduces revenue and profit by c.£17 million, before any mitigation. However, ITV said it would continue efforts to cut costs, expecting to reduce its programme budget by at least £100m.
The broadcaster has also taken steps to reduce discretionary spending by £20m in 2020. This is in addition to the £10m of savings already guided for 2020. ITV said it has also identified £30m of savings in its capital expenditure.
"ITV has good access to liquidity," the company added. "We have £150m of unrestricted cash, a £630 million Revolving Credit Facility expiring in December 2023, of which £100 million is currently drawn, and a £300 million undrawn bilateral facility expiring in June 2021. In addition, we have no bond repayments until September 2022."
As of today, ITV will replace some of its flagship weekly shows with extended versions of Good Morning Britain alongside repeats of other shows.
"We have been reducing our crew numbers over the last week and these changes will enable us to reduce them further and help us build further resilience with the aim of Daytime content continuing to air for as long as possible," ITV said.