ITV is predicting a summertime ad boom, with revenues expected to be up as much as 90% year on year, fuelled by the return of must-watch content including Love Island and football’s European Championship.
ITV, which said that total TV advertising was down 6% in the first quarter because of the impact of the latest coronavirus lockdown restrictions on brands spending on campaigns, is forecasting a strong second-quarter recovery.
“We finished the quarter strongly with the substantial majority of our shows back in production and a recovery in the advertising market,” said Carolyn McCall, the chief executive of ITV. “We are encouraged by the UK roadmap out of lockdown and remain cautiously optimistic about the year ahead.”
The broadcaster is forecasting that advertising revenues will be up 68% year on year in April, 85% in May and as much as 90% in June.
“This is driven by UK Covid-19 restrictions being reduced and a strong schedule featuring Love Island and the Euros,” she said.
The scale of the rebound is in part fuelled by the dire state of the TV ad market last year, with the 43% drop in the second quarter reported by ITV the steepest decline in the broadcaster’s 66-year history.
The broadcaster said its ITV Studios business, which makes shows from Coronation Street to Line of Duty, is back at almost full production capacity. Revenues were up 9% year on year to £372m in the first quarter but McCall remained cautious about future potential pandemic-related shutdowns.
“The advertising market and worldwide productions remain exposed to the risks associated with the pandemic,” she said. “Accordingly, we continue to closely monitor the situation in all the countries in which we operate.”
ITV said that while total TV viewing was up by 1% in the first quarter, thanks to content such as Saturday Night Takeaway and Six Nations rugby, online viewing dropped.
Viewing on ITV Hub, which is popular among younger demographics, fell 11% in the first quarter, which the broadcaster blamed on the absence of a winter series of Love Island.