ITV shares today soared 5 per cent to a record high as 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.
“The fear of the downside has largely diluted,” declared Crozier, who suggested optimism is at its highest level since 2007, based on talking to 100 chief executives and marketing directors at different companies in the last three months.
Ad revenues at the broadcaster, home of Downton Abbey, Scott & Bailey and X Factor, should be up 9 per cent in the third quarter, with Crozier saying 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 revenue will be flat.
His optimism for the rest of 2013 could be a good indicator for the wider UK economy, although he said his “caveat” was that growing confidence among advertisers has not yet “turned into behaviour” in some cases.
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 of the year. Pre-tax profits rose 11 per cent to £179 million, with turnover up 1 per cent at £1.14 billion. ITV shares rose 8p to 165.1p — treble the level when Crozier took over in 2010.