ITV boosted by rush to watch its programmes on mobile

Online viewers are rushing to watch their favourite ITV shows on mobile, with 95 per cent of the growth in usage this year coming from smartphones and tablets, the chief executive Adam Crozier said yesterday.

"ITV Player is the second-most popular app on iPad," added Mr Crozier, as he claimed the Downton Abbey broadcaster is making headway in online after years of false dawns.

Revenues from online, pay and interactive jumped 24 per cent to £47m in the first half of the year.

Online video views rose 20 per cent to 217 million, with more than 400,000 people watching the England-France Euro 2012 football game.

ITV has also amassed 4 million viewer email addresses and its shows have 20 million Facebook "likes".

All this comes as ITV's online division faces the loss of 40 jobs.

Mr Crozier did not comment directly on that but he admitted ITV was learning that viewers did not want lots of web pages and text – they just want to watch their favourite shows. He hopes to launch ITV's much-delayed online pay-per-view service by the autumn.

Across the group, underlying profits rose 15 per cent to £235m. On a pre-tax basis, profits fell 8 per cent because of finance costs. Revenues were up 10 per cent to £1.13bn as external sales from ITV Studios, the production arm that makes shows such as Come Dine With Me for other broadcasters, grew by a third.

Mr Crozier confirmed advertising would be down 10 per cent in July and August, partly because it has no Olympics coverage. September could also be down by up to 5 per cent. But he said ITV should still outperform the ad market, which looks flat across the year.