ITV earnings: Britain's biggest ad-funded broadcaster shakes off Brexit fears with revenues of £3.5 billion

Little Big ShotsITV/Wall to WallITV is airing the UK version of ‘Little Big Shots’ as part of a revamped schedule.

LONDON — Britain’s biggest ad-funded broadcaster ITV has shaken off concerns about Brexit after its revenue grew 4% to £3.5 billion.

On more than one occasion last year, ITV warned that “political and economic uncertainty” was likely to have an impact on advertising spend.

In its 2016 earnings on Wednesday, ITV said the ad market was down 3% last year, but the strength of other parts of its business, including production arm ITV Studios, meant that it still posted revenue growth.

  • Total revenue rose to £3.5 billion, up from £3.4 billion last year.
  • ITV’s pre-tax profits were flat at £847 million.

In an emailed note this week, analyst Liberum predicted ITV would post revenues of £3.1 billion, generating a pre-tax profit of £864 million.

ITV warned last year that Brexit could kill advertising spend and took steps to safeguard itself from any downturn in revenue. The company announced in October that it would axe 120 jobs across all of its operations amid “political and economic uncertainty.”

Business Insider also reported in July that ITV had introduced an unofficial recruitment freeze and ban on pay rises to combat potentially turbulent trading. The job losses and other cutbacks are all aimed at saving £25 million.

ITV’s 2016 earnings coincided with it launching a revamped schedule, including the UK version of NBC hit “Little Big Shots” on Wednesday night. Most notably, the broadcaster has moved its flagship 10 p.m. news bulletin for eight weeks to make way for “The Nightly Show,” which is an effort to recreate the success of US topical chat programmes such as “The Late Late Show with James Corden.”

Hosted by comedian David Walliams this week, “The Nightly Show” was trounced by critics: The Daily Telegraph called it “deeply patchy,” while The Guardian said the programme was “squatting in the home of a journalistic institution.”

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