ITV Shrugs Off Lower Audience Share as Sales and Profit Rise

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ITV Plc, broadcaster of hit shows Downton Abbey and Coronation Street, increased first-half sales by 11 percent despite a drop in audience share.

Photographer: Ian Gavan/Getty Images

ITV Plc, broadcaster of hit shows Downton Abbey and Coronation Street, increased first-half sales by 11 percent even as it registered a drop in audience share.

External revenue -- excluding sales to customers within the business -- rose to 1.36 billion pounds ($2.1 billion) in the period, slightly ahead of analyst expectations of 1.34 billion pounds. Adjusted earnings per share rose 26 percent to 7.7 pence, the company said in a statement Tuesday.

Advertising revenue increased 5 percent to 838 million pounds, supported by a strong performance at its program-making and online units, which grew by 23 percent and 27 percent respectively.

Chief Executive Officer Adam Crozier said in the statement that exclusive rights to broadcast matches in the Rugby World Cup and dramas such as Jekyll & Hyde and The Trials of Jimmy Rose will improve audience numbers in the second-half of the year. So-called “share of viewing” dropped 4 percent in the first six months.

The shares were 2.6 percent higher at 270.6 pence at 13:20 p.m. in London. They’ve risen almost a third over the past year.

The program-making business, ITV Studios, has been boosted by recent acquisitions including Talpa Media, maker of The Voice reality singing show, and Mammoth Screen, which produces hit drama Poldark.

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