ITV reported revenue gains but a decrease in earnings for full year 2018, and warned that political and economic uncertainty will impact ad revenues in the first part of 2019.
ITV said that economic and political uncertainty “continues to impact the demand for advertising,” with total advertising forecast to be down 3% to 4% for the first four months of 2019.
“First half revenues and profits will also be impacted by tough comparatives against the revenues of the Football World Cup, the investments we are making, and ITV Studios deliveries being weighted to H2,” said the company in its earnings statement.
For the year ending December 31, 2018, ITV’s total external revenue was up 3% at £3,211 million. Non-advertising revenue increased 5% to £1,971 million while total ad revenue increased 1% to £1,795 million.
However, group adjusted EBITA was down 4% at £810 million and adjusted pre-tax profits came to £767 million, compared to £800 million a year earlier.
Commenting on the results, ITV CEO Carolyn McCall said: “ITV’s operational performance across 2018 was strong despite the uncertain economic and political environment, with total external revenue up 3%, including total advertising revenues up 1%.
“We delivered great viewing figures on air and online with ITV setting a host of new records and achieving an impressive 3% growth in total viewing.”
“ITV is making good progress as we invest in our ‘More than TV’ strategy –repositioning the ITV brand, developing our data and digital capabilities, increasing our ability to offer addressable advertising and expanding our direct to consumer activities.”
At the same time, ITV today announced plans to launch its joint venture SVOD service BritBox in the UK.