Downton Abbey and X Factor boost profit at ITV

By Rebecca Burn-Callander,, Wednesday, 29 February 2012 11:48AM

What a turnaround for the broadcaster. Earnings are up 24% to £398m to December 2011.

Downton Abbey and X Factor boost profit at ITV

Do not adjust your screens. Despite the decline in the TV advertising sector, ITV has just reported a stonking financial year. Its £2.14bn revenue is up £76m on 2010, mostly off the back newfangled non-advertising revenues (ITV’s yet-to-be broadcast drama Titanic, written by Downton author Julian Fellowes, has already been sold to 86 countries). This arm of the business has brought in £922m, up 11% on the last year.

The results prove that CEO Adam Crozier is on the right track with his ‘Five-Year Transformation Plan’ – now two years in - to move ITV away from its reliance on ads towards a diversified revenue model. ‘We have our first positive net cash position since ITV was created in 2004 and more than delivered our targeted cost savings,’ he announced today. ‘And we have delivered double digit revenue growth and a 28% increase in new commissions to 111, of which 45 are international.’

Profits have hit £398m, up almost a quarter on 2010 earnings. The balance has been boosted by £20m of cost savings, 25% higher than the £15m it originally thought it could claw back. 2011 pre-tax profits stand at a very healthy £398m and ITV's shares were up over 8% this morning after the news broke.

And ITV has also managed to prove there is still some life in the advertising beast. Its most popular shows offer a sexy advertising opportunity for big brands and Downton Abbey (upstairs), and X Factor (er…downstairs) are currently the biggest draws. Now, if only the Dowager could sing…

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