ITV weathers Brexit slowdown with revenue growth

ITV has reported stronger-than-expected first-half earnings despite weak advertising income, showing that new boss, former EasyJet chief Carolyn McCall, will inherit a media group better placed to withstand economic downturns than in the past.

Shares in Britain’s biggest free-to-air commercial broadcaster rose 4% after the group reiterated its full-year targets helped by revenue growth from its programme production and online businesses.

That helped to cushion an 8% fall in advertising revenue recorded by its network of television channels, which it attributed to uncertainty sparked by Brexit and an inconclusive UK general election.

While the group expects advertising to remain tough, it sees the pressures easing in the third quarter of the year and said it would outperform the wider market in 2017.

“We’re a different business to what we were the last time the market had to face into a downturn in advertising,” finance director and chief operating officer Ian Griffiths said.

“In the first half of this year our broadcast business made 50% more profit than the whole of the ITV group made the last time the ad market dropped.”

The broadcaster of Coronation Street and Britain’s Got Talent said it had success on screen as viewers tuned in to watch reality programmes such as Love Island, while its production arm sold television formats and drama shows around the world.

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