ITV eyes Euro 2012 boost to outperform TV market

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Britain’s biggest free-to-air commercial broadcaster, expects to outperform the wider TV market in 2012, helped by the Euro soccer tournament in June and a solid start to the year with robust trading in the first quarter.

ITV, home to period drama Downton Abbey and Britain’s Got Talent, reported revenues from its in-house production ITV Studios up 61 percent in the first quarter, offsetting a 1 percent fall in net advertising revenue which was in line with the market.

The group forecast net advertising revenue for the first half of the year to be up 3 percent, ahead of the overall market.

ITV said its share of viewing for all its channels was down 2 percent in the four months to the end of April, however it remains confident for the rest of the year as it has the Euro tournament in June and a strong Autumn line up.

“While the underlying television advertising market continues to be broadly flat, we expect ITV’s ad revenue to be up around 3 percent in the first half, helped by Euro 2012,” Chief Executive Adam Crozier said.

“Going forward we expect to outperform the TV ad market in the first half and for the year as a whole.”

The move to boost revenues from ITV Studios fits with the strategy set out by Crozier, to make the broadcaster less dependent on volatile advertising revenues.