ITV Studios revenues dropped sharply in the first six months of 2010 as programme orders from UK and international broadcasters fell away. However, programme sales activity held up with The Prisoner and other dramas selling well.
ITV Studios, which comprises the production and distribution activities of the UK largest commercial broadcaster ITV, reported a 21% decline in domestic production revenue in the first half of the year and international production revenue was down 48%. The company blamed ‘continued caution in commissioning from [UK] broadcasters’ for the domestic drop-off and the lack of German and US versions of I’m a Celebrity this year for the international decline.
Programme sales, which are handled by ITV Studios’ Global Entertainment division, held up well through the period on the back of strong drama sales and a pair of notable, unspecified, distribution deals struck earlier in the year. One of these is understood to be a programme sales deal with an Italian broadcaster. Global Entertainment revenues increased 4%, taking the total to £57 million.
ITV Studios reported revenues of £126 million for the first half of the year compared with £168 million in the same period in 2009. Factoring in internal orders from the ITV network, the 1H10 revenue figure was £254 million compared with £296 million a year earlier.
ITV cited increased revenue from the sale of finished programming as one reason ITV Studios increased EBITA profit 8%, taking the total to £43 million. It added that some of the profit increase has been offset by the cost of international production start-ups – ITV France was opened earlier this year – and increased spend on programme development.
Lee Bartlett left ITV Studios in the period and former Channel 4 programming boss Kevin Lygo was installed as managing director. Maria Kyriacou joined from Disney as managing director, Global Entertainment. ITV said it is still looking for a COO for ITV Studios.
ITV reported overall revenues of £987 million compared with £909 million in 1H09. EBITA profit for the period was £165 million compared with £46 million a year earlier.
ITV CEO Adam Crozier said that building a stronger and more international content business was a one of four key objectives as he seeks to ‘transform’ ITV. “For the past decade ITV has not faced up to the challenges presented by the rise of internet-based platforms, the continuing growth of pay TV and subscription services and the globalisation of content,” Crozier said.
Having launched its ITV1 HD channel in April, Crozier announced that ITV2, 3 and 4 HD will roll out exclusively on BSkyB’s pay TV platform. He also added that having bought Disney out of breakfast programmer GMTV, GMTV will be rebranded Daybreak and fronted by Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley, the presenting duo ITV recently poached from the BBC.