Credit: ITV

ITV's Got Talent: Ad sales soar even as TV viewing figures fall

Is Adam Crozier trying to catch a hungry telco's eye?

by Rachel Savage
Last Updated: 14 May 2015

ITV reported pretty good news this morning: sales up in all divisions, despite falling TV viewing figures. A good slice of its staff weren’t around to help deliver that to a watching nation, though, as they were on a 24 hour strike.

Revenues rose 14% to £665m in the first quarter of the year, as its net advertising sales grew 12% to £435m. That figure is expected to be just 5% for the whole first half, as theWorld Cup scored for ITV last year.

Advertising is in rude health, despite the broadcaster’s share of TV viewing falling 3%. Other devices aren’t included in industry body BARB’s figures, but ITV said its digital audience share was up 3%. The only specific from that they deigned to give that long video ‘requests’ (on Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc) had increased 44% to 225 million.

ITV’s studio division has also returned to health. Total sales rose £224m as it absorbed various acquisitions, including The Voice creator Talpa Media, but it also grew 8% on an organic basis. That’s another sign Adam ‘control freak’ Crozier’s turnaround has been successful so far and shares were duly up a modest 1.58% to 255.9p in mid-morning trading. In the five years since he took over, they’ve swelled almost 380%, more than ten times the FTSE 100.

Crozier would no doubt say that makes him worth his £4.4m pay last year (down from £8.4m in 2013). The striking technicians union and National Union of Journalists members, who are striking over what they see as a measly 2% pay award, may well not agree (although ITV pointedly stated only 226 out of a UK workforce of 3,000 voted for action).

Whatever your stance on the relative worth of executive pay, there is no doubt the former Royal Mail chief exec has delivered. Meanwhile, the rumours continue to swirl that ITV is a prime target for hungry telcos expanding into content as they try to persuade consumers to sign on to quadplay (TV, landline, broadband and mobile). Sky and BT are only just starting to digest their moves into mobile, though, so Crozier will probably be sitting pretty for some time yet.

Read more - Adam Crozier: 'I'm a bit of a control freak'

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