ITV forecasts 10% drop in advertising revenues due to coronavirus

ITV forecasts 10% drop in advertising revenues due to coronavirus


ITV is forecasting a slump in advertising revenues of at least 10% in April as companies in the travel sector pull spend in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

ITV acts as a bellwether for the wider UK TV ad market and its forecast paints a grim picture for other broadcasters.

The company is already feeling the impact of the spread of the virus, with total advertising revenue in the first quarter growing significantly slower than analysts forecast. ITV said total advertising revenue was set to grow 2% in the first quarter. Analysts at Citi had expected growth of 3.3%, indicating a significant pull back by advertisers as the crisis has spread from Asia to Europe.

“In March and April, we have seen an impact from travel advertising deferments relating to the coronavirus,” said ITV, announcing its full-year results on Thursday. “Early indications suggest total advertising revenue will be down 10% in April.” ITV added that the virus-related postponement of the latest James Bond film, which had readied a substantial marketing campaign, would also hit revenues.

Shares in ITV fell 8.5% to a seven-month low of 106.5p in early trading.

ITV is banking on this summer’s European championship football competition to deliver a major advertising boost. However, with public events and exhibitions being cancelled and postponed across Europe the fate of the tournament is far from certain.

ITV, which also announced the launch of subscription video-on-demand service BritBox in Australia later this year, said it had limited visibility on the longer term impact of the virus on advertising.

“At this stage it is too difficult to assess the further implications of the coronavirus but we continue to monitor the situation closely,” the company said.

Overall, ITV grew total revenues by 3% last year to £3.3bn as the company managed to overcome the ongoing decline in traditional TV advertising affecting the broadcast industry.

Total advertising revenues fell by 1.5% last year to £1.76bn as adjusted profits dropped 10% to £729m. ITV said the drop in profits was due to investments in programming and the costs associated with BritBox UK.

The broadcaster said that a 21% rise in online advertising, through its ITV Hub service, more than offset the decline in TV advertising.

ITV Studios, which makes shows including Love Island and Hell’s Kitchen, performed ahead of expectations with revenues up 9% to £1.8bn and adjusted rose 5% to £267m.

James Thomson

James founded Voo Times with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. He is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research. With ample knowledge about the business industry, James also contributes his knowledge for the business section of the website.

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