ITV enjoyed a victorious Rugby World Cup, even if the players from the Home Nations did not, as England and Wales’s strong runs in the competition boosted advertising revenues.
Total advertising take was up 1% in the three months to September 30, with bosses revealing they expect flat revenues over the Christmas period.
Carolyn McCall, ITV chief executive, added: “ITV’s overall performance for the first nine months of 2019 was as we expected, and although the economic environment continues to be uncertain, we are making good progress in executing our strategy.
“On-screen and online viewing performed well with highlights including four of the five highest rating new dramas so far this year and the Rugby World Cup which saw a peak audience of 12.8 million viewers during the final. We have reached our 2021 target of 30 million registered users on ITV Hub ahead of plan.”
She also said ITV was pleased with positive feedback on its new BritBox service, and had agreed a distribution and marketing deal with BT and EE, as well as a content partnership with Channel 4.
The production side of the business also enjoyed a boost from successes in the US.
Ms McCall said: “ITV Studios’ performance in 2019 will benefit from a very strong second-half delivery schedule and our Q3 performance reflects this, with good growth across the business, particularly from ITV America with Love Island US and the part delivery of Hell’s Kitchen and Snowpiercer.
“We expect this performance to continue in Q4, and over the full year we are confident that we will deliver at least 5% growth in ITV Studios’ total revenues at a margin of 14% to 16%.”
She added that a pipeline of shows is looking strong with new and returning programmes including The Serpent, Zero Zero Zero, Suburra, Crank Yankers, Queer Eye, Saturday Night Takeaway and Love Island.
ITV is also hoping viewers will tune into I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!, Sticks And Stones, England qualifiers for the 2020 European Football Championships, The Masked Singer and Flesh And Blood.
However, there was no mention of the impact the axing of The Jeremy Kyle Show has had on revenues or on ITV’s reputation.
The omission is despite the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee publishing a damning report on the show following the death of a participant.
MPs accused ITV Studios of “corporate failure of responsibility” towards Jeremy Kyle’s guests after viewing new, behind-the-scenes footage from a whistleblower.
They said the footage “makes a mockery of the ‘aftercare’ it has claimed to provide”.
ITV said at the time it could not comment on the accusations because the select committee had not shared the whistleblower’s footage with them.