U.K. broadcaster ITV’s revenues for the nine months of 2020, ending Sept. 30, have plunged by 16% compared to 2019 levels.
The company in its Q3 results on Thursday posted total external revenue at £1.86 billion ($2.45 billion), down from £2.21 billion ($2.91 billion) in 2019. Revenues for ITV Studios, the broadcaster’s production-distribution engine, were down 19% to £902 million ($1.18 billion), compared to £1.1 billion ($1.45 billion) in 2019.
Broadcast revenue was down 13% at £1.27 billion ($1.67 billion), compared to £1.46 billion ($1.92 billion) in 2019, with ITV total advertising down 16% and online revenues up 2%.
However, despite the debilitating effects of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the broadcaster managed to get 85% of the 230 productions that were impacted or paused by the lockdown delivered or back in production.
These results were on the back of the “Love Island” broadcaster’s plans to pivot to a VOD focus, and reduce its physical footprint in London. Under the plan, ITV will establish a new Media and Entertainment division with two new business units: broadcast and on-demand.
“We remain focused on executing our ‘More Than TV’ strategy as we accelerate our digital transformation. We are restructuring the broadcast business to create a new Media and Entertainment Division to better reflect and serve changing viewing habits,” said ITV chief executive Carolyn McCall.
“The restructure will also drive improvements in efficiency and reduce costs. Planet V has reached another milestone allowing media agencies to self-serve advertising campaigns. We have further improved the design and functionality of the Hub which now has 32m registered users; and BritBox is on track, with a very successful launch for ‘Spitting Image’ — BritBox’s first original commission.”
“However, COVID restrictions and further national lockdowns have added production costs and are making it challenging to bring ITV Studios productions back to full capacity,” McCall added.
ITV said that online viewing was down 6% because there wasn’t a summer edition of “Love Island” and there were fewer episodes of the soaps, although monthly active users were up 1% and dwell time was up 6%.
Advertising revenues are crawling up for the broadcaster, from the low of 23% down in July to just 1% down in October, compared to the same period in 2019. ITV forecasts total advertising revenue to be slightly up year on year in the fourth quarter with November up around 6% compared to the same period in 2019. This assumes that the current lockdown in England will lift Dec. 2 as announced by the government.
ITV is on track to deliver the previously announced cost saving target of £60 million ($79 million) in 2020, the results revealed.
The broadcaster did not disclose any profits for the period and said that “delay to productions, further national lockdowns, social distancing and other COVID-19 measures will continue to impact revenue and margin in Q4.”