March 6th, 2019
ITV delivered a strong performance in 2018 despite the uncertain economic environment, thanks to steady growth in revenues across our business, a strong increase in viewing figures and good progress in executing our More than TV strategy.
Total revenues were up 3% at £3.8 billion, with advertising revenues up 1% at £1.8 billion. As you all know, our on air and online viewing figures have performed really well, setting new records and achieving an impressive 3% growth. This is testament to our breadth of programming right across the schedule from Daytime, our new and returning dramas, the enduring appeal of Coronation Street and Emmerdale, our big entertainment shows such as The Voice, the phenomenal Love Island and the record-breaking success of the football World Cup.
ITV Studios continued to display good growth, producing exceptional shows including Bodyguard, I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here, and a host of other hits around the world, delivering a 6% increase in revenue at £1.7 billion.
We are also making steady progress as we invest in our More than TV strategy. We're repositioning the ITV brand, developing our data and digital capabilities, strengthening our ability to offer addressable advertising and expanding our Direct to Consumer activities.
Direct to Consumer revenues increased 25% to £81 million while Hub+ subscribers grew to 265,000 and today we have over half a million BritBox subscribers in the US and Canada.
ITV's EBITA - or in other words, profit - in 2018 was £810 million. This is slightly ahead of expectations but is, of course, down on last year's figure, which isn't surprising given the uncertain economic and political environment.
As a result of this performance and the Board's confidence in ITV's strategy, it has proposed a full year dividend of 8p, up 3%.
Turning to the future - we’re really pleased to announce this morning that ITV and the BBC are at the concluding stage of discussions to launch a new streaming service. We have agreed a joint vision for the service and are now working on a formal agreement.
BritBox will be the home for the best of British creativity - celebrating the best of the past, the best of today and investing in new British originated content in the future. We anticipate other partners will be added to BritBox and we will speak to regulators and the wider industry about our proposals.
We have guided the City that ITV’s net investment in BritBox will be up to £25 million in 2019, will peak at about £40 million in 2020 and is expected to decline thereafter.
2019...the year ahead
Our viewing figures so far this year have gone from strength to strength with total viewing volume up 2% across our family of channels.
As expected, economic and political uncertainty continues to impact demand for advertising, with total advertising forecast to be down between 3 and 4% for the first four months of the year. The first half will also be impacted by tough comparatives against the football World Cup.
To make sure we have a strong and sustainable future, we'll make the already committed £40 million of essential investment this year, which catches us up on technology, data, new capabilities and user experience. This will be partly offset by our cost savings programme, which is set to deliver £15 million in 2019.
With our strong line-up of programming, high quality content with world-wide appeal and our continued progress in data, digital and Direct to Consumer, we're confident that with your help and commitment, we will continue to execute well on our strategy, maintain our robust balance sheet and deliver a dividend of at least 8p per share to shareholders in 2019.