ITV cuts its budget for shows after ads slowdown
ITV is trimming how much it spends on shows this year as it faces an ongoing advertising slowdown.
The broadcaster behind programmes such as Love Island and I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of here said its production budget will be cut by £10m in 2023.
The reduction to £1.3bn will push a number of shows into next year.
The move came after advertising revenues fell 7pc to £1.2bn in the first nine months of 2023.
It now expects ad revenues for the full year to be down 8pc, having benefited from the football World Cup last winter. This saw businesses splash out on expensive advertising slots to a greater extent than they did for the recent Rugby World Cup.
The slump in ad revenues offset a strong performance at its Studios arm, which makes shows such as The Voice and Line of Duty and saw revere-venues nues climb 9pc to £1.5bn.
As a result, total group revenues edged up just 1pc in the first nine months of the year to £3bn.
ITV boss Dame Carolyn McCall warned in July that the industry was facing the worst advertising downturn since the financial crisis with companies cutting budgets amid economic uncertainty.
Digital advertising provided some relief – with online ad revenue jumping 25pc to £283m in the nine months to September. This was a boost for McCall who has focused on growing the company’s streaming service, ITVX, as more consumers watch online.
But the group did signal that in 2024 would be hampered by the strike action in hollywood. US writers walked out for nearly 150 days earlier this year over pay and concerns about artificial intelligence, while actors are still on strike. This means fewer shows are being commissioned by US companies, and ITV can make fewer shows.
McCall said: ‘ITV continues to make good strategic progress despite the challenging macro environment which is impacting the advertising market and also the demand for content from free-to-air broadcasters in the UK and internationally. It is evident that our strategy of growing the studios and media and entertainment digital business is helping ITV to offset the current headwinds.’
Sophie Lund-Yates, an analyst at hargreaves Lansdown said: ‘ITV is at the mercy of creaking economic conditions. Companies are snapping marketing purses shut as they buckle down for the unknown over the coming months.’
Shares in the FSTe 250 group slumped 6pc, or 3.9p, to 61.7p on Wednesday – taking losses this year to 20.1pc.