ITV ad revenue surges as broadcaster prepares pay-HD offer

ITV has revealed its first half advertising revenues rose 18% to £728m and it is to launch paid-for HD versions of ITV2, ITV3 and ITV4 on Sky in the autumn.

ITV: first half advertising revenue rises
ITV: first half advertising revenue rises

For the six months to 30 June, overall revenues rose 8.6% to £987m and operating costs fell from £924m to £860m, leaving the company with an operating profit of £127m, compared to a £15m loss in the same period last year.

Pre-tax profits came in at £97m, swingeing into the black after a £105m pre-tax loss last year.

In its interim results statement made this morning, the first for incoming chief executive Adam Crozier,  the company said it is to launch a time-shifted version, ITV+1, of its main channel in the first quarter of next year after its HD channels start broadcasting on Sky.

ITV2 HD will launch in October for the start of 'The Xtra Factor', the behind the scenes show for 'The X Factor', and HD versions of ITV3 and ITV4 will launch "shortly after".

The channels have a potential audience of more than 2.9 million homes with a Sky+HD subscription.

ITV said its advertising sales team outperformed the market, which was up by 15%, but its on-screen performance declined.

Its share of viewing across its whole portfolio of channels fell from 23.1% to 22.7% and ITV1's share of commercial impacts (SOCI) fell from 28.4% to 27.2%.

However, the ITV family SOCI was up slightly from 39.7% to 39.8%.

Third quarter ad revenues are forecast to be up around 15%.

ITV Studios revenue fell 16.5% to £254m, with international production revenue down 48% driven by the commissioning cycle for 'I'm a Celebrity' where there has been no production in 2010 in both the US and Germany.

Revenue at ITV's online business was up 12% to £12m. Average users were up 4% to 9.1 million and cumulative video views were down 14% to 100 million.