Downton trumps the downturn as rise in optimism boosts ITV

ITV's chief executive Adam Crozier hiked the dividend almost 40 per cent and reported that advertisers are feeling "more confidence and positivity" about the UK economy yesterday, sending shares in the broadcaster up 6 per cent to a record high.

"The fear of the downside has largely diluted," declared Mr Crozier, who suggested optimism is at its highest level since 2007, based on talking to around 100 chief executives and marketing directors at different companies in the last three months.

Ad revenues at Britain's largest free-to-air commercial broadcaster, home to Downton Abbey and X Factor, should be up 9 per cent in the third quarter. Supermarket, car, telecoms and pharmaceutical companies, along with the Government, have been among the biggest advertisers.

Mr Crozier said the ad market is "the mirror image" of last year when ITV had a strong second quarter and a weak third quarter because of the Olympics on the BBC. Over the first nine months of this year, ITV's ad revenues will be flat.

His optimism for the rest of 2013 could be seen as a good indicator for the wider economy, though he said his "caveat" was that growing confidence among advertisers has not yet "turned into behaviour" in some cases.

Mr Crozier was able to hike the half-year dividend 38 per cent to 1.1p after another strong performance outside advertising in the first six months. Pre-tax profits rose 11 per cent to £179m, with turnover up 1 per cent at £1.14bn.

His policy of buying up independent production companies such as Graham Norton's So Television and Big Talk, maker of the BBC's Rev and Channel 4's Friday Night Dinner, and selling more shows and formats to other broadcasters in the UK and overseas, is continuing to pay off. Revenues from the programme-making arm ITV Studios jumped 11 per cent and other areas such as gaming and online were up 19 per cent.

Mr Crozier has been experimenting with an online pay policy, making shows such as the drama Scott & Bailey available first behind a paywall. Prices are typically 99p per episode.

He was upbeat about the chances of ITV retaining its Champions League football rights as he said Uefa, the organiser of the tournament, still wanted some free-to-air exposure, even though Sky and BT are likely to engage in a fierce battle over pay-TV coverage. ITV shares jumped 9.9p to 167p.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
An iceberg in Ilulissat, Greenland; researchers have been studying the phenomena of the melting glaciers and their long-term ramifications for the rest of the world (Getty)
news
Environment
environment
Arts and Entertainment
Hugh Jackman bears his claws and loses the plot in X-Men movie 'The Wolverine'
film
Arts and Entertainment
'Knowledge is power': Angelina Jolie has written about her preventive surgery
film
News
Zayn has become the first member to leave One Direction. 'I have to do what feels right in my heart,' he said
peopleWe wince at anguish of fans, but his 1D departure shows the perils of fame in the social media age
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Retirement Coordinator - Financial Services

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...

Recruitment Genius: Annuities / Pensions Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...

Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Officer - Altrincham - up to £24,000.

£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...

Ashdown Group: Learning and Development Programme Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing