ITV claims 'good start' to 2016 despite flat growth in ad revenue

ITV has reported revenue of £755m for the first quarter of 2016, up 13.5% year on year, as the UK's biggest broadcaster forecast no overall increase in ad revenue for the first half of the year.

Adam Crozier, ITV's chief executive, pointed to the Brexit debate and 'uncertainty' in the UK ad market
Adam Crozier, ITV's chief executive, pointed to the Brexit debate and 'uncertainty' in the UK ad market

In its first quarter trading update, ITV’s net advertising revenue was £433m in the three months to 31 March, down by half a percentage point against last year’s NAR of £435m.

ITV has also forecast NAR to be broadly flat for the first half of 2016, which the broadcaster said is ahead of the market.

Net ad revenue was down 13% in April and forecast to be flat in May, but expected to be up 15% in June when the Euro 2016 football tournament kicks off.

The broadcast and online division, which includes advertising, reported revenue of £539m, up 1.7%, and online, pay and interactive revenue climbed by 17%. 

Adam Crozier, the chief executive of ITV, said the company expected to deliver good profit growth for the first half of the year and said it had had a "good start" to 2016.

This, Crozier said, was despite: "the backdrop of uncertainty in the UK advertising market, which we have experienced since the debate over Brexit began, and significantly higher share of our programme spend in the first six months."

ITV’s forecast of a flat ad market for H1 was echoed by Jonathan Allan, Channel 4’s director of sales, in an interview with Campaign this week.

However, Allan said fears over Brexit were only partly to blame for the slowdown and pointed to supermarkets cutting adspend and wider global economic concerns.

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