ITV trumpets strategy shift as profit rises

ITV has posted a better than expected 24% increase in profit for 2011, driven by improvements in divisions such as its production arm that do not rely on advertising.

Titanic ITV

Pre-tax profit for the year to 31 December 2011 was £398m, up from £321m a year earlier.

Income was lifted by an 11% increase in non-advertising revenue to £922m. The gain was primarily because of growth from ITV Studios, which sells owned shows such as Prime Suspect and the soon-to-air Titanic internationally, where revenue increased 28%.

Advertising revenue from ITV1 to 4 was up 1% in the period. It is expected to be down 2% in the first quarter of 2011, the company adds, and flat in April.

Adam Crozier, chief executive of the broadcaster, says it is on track to reduce its dependence on advertising revenue. Forty-three percent of revenue came from non-advertising sources in 2011, up from 40% a year earlier.

Crozier adds: “We’re now almost two years into our five-year transformation plan and our continued growth in revenue and profit – at a time when the advertising market is broadly flat – demonstrates that we’re performing in line with our strategic priorities.”

Online income from digital advertising and services increased 21% to £34m. Boosting online revenue is another key tenant of the company’s “transformation plan”.

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