Facebook UK revenues surpass Channel 4's ad sales

Facebook's UK revenues rocketed 50% last year to £1.27bn, putting it close to overtaking ITV's ad sales total and ahead of Channel 4's.

Facebook UK revenues surpass Channel 4's ad sales

The social media giant’s UK revenue for 2017 shot up from £842m the year before. 

That means Facebook, whose revenue is almost wholly dependent on advertising, took in more money in the UK last year than the country’s biggest commercial broadcasters’ sales houses, with the exception of ITV.

Channel 4’s ad sales division 4Sales took in £1.17bn in the last financial year, while Sky’s UK & Ireland ad revenues came in at £540m over the same period. ITV’s net advertising revenue for 2017 was £1.59bn. 

Facebook said its revenue increased due to improved "intercompany services and advertiser reseller activities in 2017". 

However its pre-tax profit rose only 6.9% to £62.77m in 2017, due to a 65.7% hike in its cost of sales to £758.67m and a 36.3% jump in administrative expenses to £444.47m. 

Facebook also grew its UK headcount to 1,290, up from 960 in 2016. 

In its financial disclosure, published on Companies House over the weekend, Facebook reported that it received £8.4m in tax credits from employee share awards.

Facebook has also increased its research and development spend to £264m. Recent acquisitions include artificial intelligence start-up Bloomsbury AI. Facebook's R&D teams are based at its tech hub at Rathbone Place in Fitzrovia.

Steve Hatch, Facebook's vice-president of Northern Europe, said: "The UK is home to our largest engineering base outside the US and we continue to invest heavily here. By the end of 2018 we will employ 2,300 people in the UK and we are doubling our office space in London's King's Cross with capacity for more than 6,000 workstations by 2022. 

"We have also changed the way we report tax so that revenue from customers supported by our UK teams is recorded in the UK and any taxable profit is subject to UK corporation tax."