ITV plans to cut costs by £25 million ($32.8 million) by 2017 to protect itself from the economic shockwaves of Brexit that have flattened the advertising market.
The UK commercial broadcaster’s earnings for the first six months of 2016 showed that its external revenues hit £1.5 billion ($1.9 billion), which was an increase of 11% on the £1.35 billion ($1.7 billion) recorded over the same period last year.
But it was ITV Studios, ITV’s global production arm, which accounted for much of this growth. ITV said net advertising revenues were flat at £838 million ($1 billion) in the first half of the year because of uncertainty “driven by the EU referendum.”
ITV expects its ad turnover to fall by around 1% in the nine months to the the end of September. As well as the Brexit shockwaves, ITV will not be helped by the BBC’s coverage of the Olympics, which will mean it loses audience share.
On a media conference call for the earnings, ITV chief executive Adam Crozier said the £25m of savings will come from “right across the business” and “may involve” job cuts. He stressed, however, that “by and large” the savings are in line with costs stripped out of the business in the past six years.
Crozier said uncertainty in the ad market kicked in in February when the referendum was called. He added that there has not been a “second gear” in the uncertainty since Britain voted to leave the EU in June.
“The result hasn’t changed anything,” Crozier said, but he warned that the country is still in unchartered waters and “it’s too early” to say what the full impact will be on the ad market.