ITV profits leap 42%

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The Independent Online

The broadcasting group ITV posted a 42-per-cent increase in half-year profits today after seeing advertising revenues jump to their best level since the dotcom boom.

The broadcasting group ITV posted a 42-per-cent increase in half-year profits today after seeing advertising revenues jump to their best level since the dotcom boom.

The group - formed from the merger of Granada and Carlton earlier this year - said first-half advertising revenues from all ITV channels improved by 4.9% on 2003 and were estimated to be up 5.5% in the current quarter.

Chief executive Charles Allen said the newly-created company had delivered on all aspects of the merger, with cost savings achieved six months early.

He pledged to raise the target from £100 million a year to £120 million but did not provide details of how the extra savings would be achieved.

In today's figures, covering the six months to June 30, ITV said operating profits rose 32% on a year earlier to £123 million while bottom-line pre-tax profits came in at £132 million. The figures are on a pro-forma basis.

The company added that it had a strong autumn schedule in place, with stars including Martin Clunes and Ray Winstone among those set to feature. It will also launch ITV3, a new digital station to cater for the over-35 age group, on November 1.

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