ITV plays advantage with strong showing from Rugby World Cup

The tournament helped boost the broadcaster’s revenues by 13 per cent to £2bn in the nine months to September

Nick Goodway
Wednesday 11 November 2015 02:12
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England’s early exit from the Rugby World Cup did little of the feared damage to broadcaster ITV’s audiences for the remainder of the tournament, it has been revealed.

Coupled with another live episode of Coronation Street, the tournament helped boost ITV’s revenues by 13 per cent to £2bn in the nine months to September. Its chief executive Adam Crozier said “all parts of the business” were performing well and that he expects another year of “double-digit profits growth.

The England v Wales game was watched by 10.4 million viewers, peaking at 11.6 million, making it the most watched sporting event of the year and the most watched rugby match since the 2007 world cup final between England and South Africa.

ITV declined to confirm that it has poached The Voice from the BBC, which admitted it had lost the talent show format after its next series. But industry sources are certain that the programme, which is made by an ITV-owned studio, will emerge on the broadcaster’s main channel.

Mr Crozier said that despite a 3 per cent fall in ITV’s share of all viewers so far this year there had been a slight improvement in recent months. He said: “Share of viewing has improved in the second half driven by strong performances in daytime, the soaps and the Rugby World Cup, and continuing this trend remains a key focus for the business. We’re also strengthening our broadcast business with the proposed acquisition of the television assets of UTV.”

He added that the group had a strong pipeline of programmes coming up including new shows Beowulf, Jericho, Victoria and Tutankhamun and returns for Unforgotten and Poldark, which ITV Studios makes for the BBC.

ITV Studios’ revenues jumped by 28 per cent to £782m, driven by acquisitions including that of The Voice maker Talpa but also underlying growth of 9 per cent, particularly in the US.

Roddy Davidson, a media analyst at Shore Capital, said: “We are pleased with the momentum evident in this update and are bullish on ITV’s unrivalled ability to deliver a large mass market audience to advertisers.”

ITV has agreed to buy UTV’s TV broadcasting business for £100m. The shares rose 4.7p to 261.5p.

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