ITV to cut another £40m in costs as ad market remains weak
LONDON - ITV has pledged to cut another £40m from its cost base from 2010 after revealing first quarter advertising revenues have dropped 15%.
In a trading update today the broadcaster said its overall revenues were down 13.6% to £425m.
Michael Grade, executive chairman, said: "The television advertising market remains weak. However, ITV continues to outperform the market [which was down 16%], reflecting the continued strength of our on-screen performance, particularly in peak time."
ITV1 is leading BBC One in peak time ratings thanks to well-watched shows like 'Britain's Got Talent' and new drama 'Whitechapel'. However, ITV1's share of commercial impacts was down 6% in the first quarter.
Grade said the company was "making good progress" with plans outlined in March in response to tough market conditions.
The plans called for 600 redundancies, in addition to the 1,000 jobs cut last October, and cuts to the programming budget.
There were no details of where the fresh £40m cost cuts announced today would be sought, only that they would be made from 2010 and as a result total cost savings would rise to £215m in 2010 and £285m in 2011.
There has been speculation that ITV will cut more from its drama budget with some of its more expensive programming like sci-fi drama 'Primeval' facing the possible axe.
While the ad revenue picture remains bleak, ITV's global content division experienced a revenue drop of just 3% to £56m, partly helped by currency movements.
ITV's online revenues were static at £9m, despite a 150% increase in the number of videos viewed on ITV.com.
Grade, who is due to become non-executive chairman of the broadcaster before the end of the year, alluded briefly to regulation and the Digital Britain report.
He said: "We continue to press for rapid regulatory progress and are encouraged by the growing support for public funding to sustain regional news, ahead of the publication of the final Digital Britain report next month."
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