British broadcaster ITV trebles profits

2nd March 2011, Comments 0 comments

British commercial broadcaster ITV said Wednesday its 2010 profits trebled, thanks to soaring advertising revenues and cost-cutting, adding it will restore the shareholder dividend later this year.

Net profit jumped to £269 million ($438 million, 317 million euros) from £91 million in 2009, ITV said in a statement. Advertising revenues for its core broadcasting and online business were up 16 percent to £1.5 billion.

ITV airs hit reality shows 'X Factor' and 'Britain's Got Talent', as well as long-running soap opera 'Coronation Street' and popular period drama 'Downton Abbey.'

Pre-tax earnings soared to £286 million from £25 million in 2009, while total revenues rose 10 percent to £2.06 billion.

The group signalled it would resume the payment of its shareholder dividend in July, after suspending it in 2009 following a large loss in 2008.

"We are pleased to report a significantly improved financial performance in 2010 with total external revenues up ten percent," ITV said.

"This was largely driven by the stronger than expected UK television advertising market and ITV's outperformance of that market.

"The growth in advertising and ITV's continued focus on cost reduction fed through to substantially increased profits."

ITV, which is one year into a five-year plan to transform its fortunes, was badly hit by Britain's record-length recession, which ended in late 2009 after causing a massive slump in advertising revenues as companies slashed budgets.

"Last year we set out a comprehensive five year plan for the transformation of ITV," ITV chief executive Adam Crozier said.

"In this first phase, our outperformance of the television advertising market -- together with the actions taken to reduce the group's cost base and the focus on cash generation -- have delivered substantial debt reduction and a sound financial platform for the challenges ahead."

But he also added: "The outlook into the rest of 2011 remains uncertain and we are cautious about the broader economic outlook and its impact on our market."

© 2011 AFP

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