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Ella Sagar 

ITV on track for highest ever ad revenue as TV market booms

ITV on track for highest ever ad revenue as TV market booms

ITV is on track to record the highest ad revenue in its 66-year history, with CEO Carolyn McCall hailing an outstanding nine months for the broadcaster.

Total advertising revenue (TAR) for 2021 was up 30% for the 9 months to the end of September, ITV reported in a trading update this morning.

TAR was up 68% in July, 24% in August and 16% in September compared to the same months in 2020.

ITV Hub, its video-on-demand service recorded a 54% growth in revenue to the end of September compared to the same time in 2020.

October has been a particularly strong month for TV, Mediatel News reported, thanks to a surge in demand from advertisers whose Christmas activity has been switched on earlier than usual.

And, despite last year's extremely strong quarter for TV as it rebounded from the collapse in advertising towards the end of 2020, ITV is predicting double-digit increases for each month of this quarter.

ITV predicts October will be up 17%, November up by around 12% and December up by between 5% and 10%. Overall it is forecasting an increase of between 11% and 13% for Q4.

Overall, ITV has had an "outstanding" nine months according to Carolyn McCall, ITV chief executive.

She said: "Both our Studios and Media & Entertainment (M&E) businesses have performed very strongly. Revenue from each business over the nine months is up both on last year and on 2019."

Revenue from each arm of the business has driven total external revenue up 28% to £2.4bn and 8% higher than pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

In terms of audience figures, McCall maintained ITV is becoming an "increasingly scaled digital business" with online viewing up 39%.

Dwell time increased by 9% and simulcast viewing rising by 51%. This increase was helped with the roll-out of Planet V last year and the redesign of ITV Hub to offer users more functionality and personalisation options.

More than 90% of orders are now booked through Planet V, with 850 individual users ranging from major media and digital agency groups to independents and a rising proportion of in-house programmatic teams.

The broadcaster also said it was projecting to double the number of hours of content available on the catch-up platform over the course of 2021.

Share of viewing was up across ITV's portfolio of channels over Q3 with ITV main channel up from 16.6% to 17.0%, ITV Family share of voice up from 22.2% to 22.5% with the Euros, Love Island and dramas such as Manhunt: The Night Stalker and Vera, providing strong ratings.

However, total viewing decreased by 5% year-on-year and failed to match the surge in viewing during lockdowns in 2020 at the height of the pandemic.

McCall added: “With the combination of Broadcast and ITV Hub’s mass simultaneous reach, our brand safe addressable advertising product and the strong economy, 2021 looks set to have the highest advertising revenue in ITV’s history, despite the lockdown in Q1."

Partnerships with Virgin Media and Sky

In its update, ITV also announced it has agreed a new multi-year carriage relationship with Virgin which comprises a full integration of the ITV Hub platform on existing Virgin Media set top boxes and new IP products.

ITV additionally has a new partnership with Sky to increase addressable advertising inventory.

BritBox UK is performing well and has recently launched on the Xbox gaming console with content such as the Irvine Welsh drama, Crime, Hotel Portofino, Magpie Murders and Why Didn't They Ask Evans?

BritBox International is also growing in subscriptions across the US, Canada, Australia and South Africa, with more markets expected next year.

ITV highlighted new and returning TV programmes it had delivered in the UK and internationally contributing to its success this quarter like Vigil for BBC One, Physical for Apple TV+, The Long Call and Endeavour for ITV, Ten Year Old Tom for HBO Max, Snowpiercer season 2 for Netflix and Love Island in the UK for ITV and in the US for CBS.

McCall added that this quarter's report showed ITV had successfully completed the first phase of its More Than TV Strategy and is accelerating the second phase of digital transformation.

Into next year, ITV's More Than TV strategy will encompass scripted programmes like Gomorrah and Django in Italy, Let The Right One In, Snowpiercer season 4, Physical season 2 in the US plus The Outlaws and A Spy Among Friends in the UK.

Unscripted programmes under the umbrella over the next year will include I’m A Celebrity in the UK; Rat in the Kitchen, My Mom Your Dad and Hells Kitchen in the US, Let Love Rule in the Netherlands and Love Island Australia.

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