ITV has presented a mixed bag of results in its latest financial performance report, published this morning. Advertising revenues were down 5% in the first half of 2019 falling from £890m to £849m. ITV Studios revenues also declined by 6% from £803m to £758m.
On the upside, however, the broadcaster’s domestic SVOD service, ITV Hub+, has almost doubled its subscriber base from 265,000 in 2018 to over 500,000 by July 2019. Online viewing (the total number of hours viewed) rose 13% and simulcast viewing hours were up 17% YOY. ITV Hub now has 29 million registered users (2018: 25 million) and monthly active users are up 37%, helped by compulsory registration on connected TVs. ITV aims to launch a new version of Hub+ later this year which will have redesigned homepages, increased personalisation and a “continue watching” section.
BritBox US, ITV’s ad-free SVOD product which offers British content to North American viewers, now has in excess of 650,000 subscribers and overall online advertising revenue grew 18% YOY.
On BritBox UK, ITV said:
“On 19th July 2019 we announced our formal agreement with the BBC for our strategic partnership, BritBox UK, an exciting new SVOD service for UK audiences. We have undertaken further research to track the SVOD market and it is showing no signs of slowing down. There is a real appetite amongst British viewers for a new British streaming service, in addition to their current subscriptions. BARB data shows that more households are taking multiple subscriptions, while the annual growth in homes with any SVOD service is 20%, the growth in homes with multiple services is 34%, with five million homes now having more than one subscription. BritBox will tap into this demand and the innovative new service will provide the largest collection of British boxsets available anywhere – the best of the past, the present and the future. Our research has shown that the desire for British content is high, with 44% of all online homes interested in subscribing to a new SVOD service which features British content. This increases to over 54% in homes with Netflix.
BritBox UK will be an ITV controlled entity with an initial holding of 90% and the BBC holding 10% of the equity with an option to increase it up to 25%. We anticipate that other partners will be added to BritBox UK over time. The service is expected to launch in Q4 and will provide an unrivalled collection of British content and original series. It will be supported by a high profile marketing and promotional campaign by ITV and the BBC.
Our net investment in BritBox UK remains unchanged and will be up to £25 million in 2019, increasing to around £40 million in 2020, and expected to decline thereafter.”