Advertisers’ clamour for Christmas TV airtime boosts ITV restoration


Advertisers relying on Christmas TV campaigns to avoid wasting a 12 months blighted by the pandemic have fuelled a faster-than-expected restoration at ITV, which mentioned advert revenues within the ultimate three months of the 12 months had been on observe to beat final 12 months’s efficiency.

ITV, whose TV promoting slumped by virtually half earlier within the pandemic – the most important fall within the broadcaster’s historical past – has bounced again strongly, with TV advert revenues anticipated to rise 6% 12 months on 12 months in November and to be “barely up” within the ultimate, so-called golden quarter that companies financial institution on for a lot of their annual gross sales.

Progress in fourth-quarter promoting income at ITV would beat expectations within the Metropolis, the place analysts had been beforehand anticipating a fall of about 5%. The ultimate three months of the 12 months often account for round 30% of ITV’s annual promoting take.

Because the annual Christmas promoting battle kicks off in earnest this week with the disclosing of the most recent John Lewis marketing campaign, manufacturers seem like betting on the growth in TV viewing within the first wave of the pandemic to proceed via the second wave and the festive season. ITV is anticipating sturdy viewing for flagship exhibits corresponding to I’m a Movie star … Get Me Out of Right here!, which has relocated from its conventional residence in Australia to a citadel in Wales and premieres on Sunday.

“With so many eyes attributable to be glued to the field over the lengthy winter nights, it bodes effectively for promoting,” mentioned Susannah Streeter, a senior funding and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

Final month a report by the Promoting Affiliation/Warc mentioned advertisers had been anticipated to chop greater than £700m from their advertising budgets within the run-up to Christmas this 12 months.

Nonetheless, TV was predicted to be the “least worst” medium, amid a decline throughout all media together with advert spend on Google and Fb. Spending on broadcasters’ streaming companies corresponding to ITV Hub and All4 is predicted to rise.

ITV’s third-quarter buying and selling replace was a combined bag as ITV Studios, the manufacturing arm that makes exhibits starting from Coronation Road to Come Dine With Me, continued to battle to get again on observe after the manufacturing shutdown throughout the first lockdown.

Carolyn McCall, ITV’s chief government, mentioned 85% of the 230 productions that had been halted had been now both again in manufacturing or had been delivered. “Nonetheless, Covid restrictions and additional nationwide lockdowns have added manufacturing prices and are making it difficult to deliver ITV Studios productions again to full capability,” she mentioned. Income a ITV Studios fell by 19% within the quarter.

ITV’s whole viewing hours haven risen by 2% within the first 9 months of the 12 months, due to the pandemic, however its share of whole TV viewing is down 4%, partly attributable to a big enhance within the quantity of stories output by the BBC, which has captured giant audiences.

On ITV Hub, the broadcaster’s streaming and on-demand service, on-line viewing hours have fallen by 6% 12 months on 12 months owing to the cancellation of a summer season version of Love Island and the rationing of episodes of soaps corresponding to Coronation Road and Emmerdale.

ITV mentioned BritBox, its Netflix-style three way partnership with the BBC, was on observe to hit inner subscriber targets after the profitable launch of Spitting Picture, the streaming service’s first authentic fee.

“The pandemic has put ITV between a rock and arduous place,” mentioned Streeter. “Demand for brand spanking new content material is hovering and extra viewers are switching again on their TVs to look at programmes reside, bucking the development of a drift towards on-demand. However its manufacturing arm, ITV Studios, can’t make exhibits quick sufficient to fulfill their want, with lockdown 2 delaying filming even additional, including to prices.”

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