ITV ad revenue rises despite drop in ratings

Net advertising revenues up 12 per cent while audience share is down by three per cent.

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By :  ,  Financial Analyst

Despite a drop in ratings, ITV has reported a strong performance in advertising revenues.

The company has seen a three per cent drop in audience share and a six per cent drop on its main channel. The Guardian reports the fall in audience numbers is due to a "string of factual and entertainment flops". The reboot of Harry Hill's Stars in their eyes, for example, did not do as well as planned – the show was cancelled after just one season. However, the success of shows like Britain's Got Talent has had a positive impact on numbers.

According to ITV chief executive Adam Crozier, improving the network's share of viewing is a "key focus".

Net advertising revenues at ITV rose 12 per cent to £754 million during the first three months of the year. 

Strike action

Yesterday, (May 14th) the broadcaster was also hit by strike action over pay ahead of the company's annual general meeting with share holders.

Members of the technicians' union Bectu and the National Union of Journalists voted in favour of industrial action in protest of a two per cent pay award.

The unions have been pressing for a bigger wage increase, after the company announced a 39 per cent increase in pre-tax profits.

Gerry Morrissey, general secretary and Bectu told the BBC: "There is a huge disparity between the pay offered to staff and the bonus package to executives as well as shareholder dividends."

He said that members were helping to make the profits, but were not sharing in them.

Future programming

While advertising revenue and profits might be up, the broadcaster has warned that it will be a challenge to turn around declining audience numbers – especially since it will be losing the rights to the Uefa Champions League at the beginning of the season. The channel's most popular drama, Downton Abbey is also coming to an end after the next series.

​One opportunity the company is considering is bringing the former Top Gear team – presenters Jeremy Clarkson, James May, Richard Hammond and executive Producer Andy Wilman - to ITV. ITV director of television Peter Fincham met with them last week – but it is not yet clear where the Top Gear stars will end up.

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