ITV, the UK’s biggest commercial broadcaster, has today released its financial and performance results for 2018 and reports that long-form online video views on ITV Hub, Hub+ and other ad-supported platforms have increased 32% from 337 million hours in 2017 to 446 million hours last year. ITV Hub, the company’s AVOD service, now has 27.6m registered users – up from 21.3m in 2017. Its SVOD service, Hub+, now has 265,000 paying users (a tripling in growth).
In other highlights, ITV said that:
- The ITV Family Share of Viewing (SOV) – which includes all viewing on ITV, ITV2, ITV3, ITV4, ITV Encore, ITVBe, CITV, ITV Breakfast, CITV Breakfast and associated “HD” and “+1” channels and ITV Hub on television sets – has risen to 23.2% (from 21.7% the year before);
- Broadcast & Online revenues are up 1% to £2.096 billion; VOD revenues were up 36%
- Direct to Consumer revenue – which includes SVOD, competitions, live events and pay per view events – grew 25% to £81 million (2017: £65 million)
- ITV Studios income was up 6% to £1.67bn (2017: £1.579bn)
- Global Entertainment, the distribution arm within ITV Studios, reported revenue growth of 14% to £214 million (2017: £187 million)
- And total external revenue up 3% at £3,211 million (2017: £3,130 million), with total non-advertising revenues up 5% at £1,971 million (2017: £1,874 million)
ITV also announced that it was preparing to launch a new SVOD service, BritBox UK, in conjunction with the BBC and potentially other broadcasters, later in 2019. The company expects to invest £25m in the venture this year, increasing to around £40 million in 2020.
ITV’s CEO, Carolyn McCall, said that the ITV’s goal was to become an IPB – an integrated producer broadcaster. This strategy is made up of five elements:
- Repositioning ITV to drive more light viewers and increase reach. This includes enhancing ITV Hub, evolving the underlying online video platform, developing a programmatic AdTech platform and the use of technology to automate operational processes
- Investing further in ITV Studios to turn it into a “leading creative force in global content”
- Growing its D2C business including ITV’s SVOD and pay propositions: ITV Hub+, BritBox in the US and Canada, and Cirkus in the Nordics and Germany
- Delivering investment and cost savings – “In order to ensure that ITV has a strong and sustainable future, we have set out our essential £40 million investment programme for 2019 which catches us up on technology, data, capability and user experience. As previously announced, this will increase to £60 million by 2021. These will partly be offset by £15 million of cost savings which will be delivered in 2019, increasing to a run rate of £35-£40 million by 2021.“
- And ensuring that ITV is “an open and inclusive place to work at all times”
McCall does, however, expect choppy waters ahead,
“Economic and political uncertainty continues to impact the demand for advertising as we expected, with total advertising forecast to be down 3% to 4% over the first 4 months. The first half of the year will also be impacted by tough advertising comparatives particularly in June against the World Cup last year, the investments we are making and the timing of ITV Studios deliveries being weighted to the second half.“
About the author : Kauser Kanji
I've been working in online video since 2005 and have held senior roles at NBC Universal, ITN and Virgin Media. I've also completed VOD projects for the BBC, Netflix, Sony Pictures and a host of broadcasters and service-providers all over the world. Catch me on our weekly debate show, OTT Question Time, or drop me a line on LinkedIn.