10 May 2006
10 May 2006
AGM Statement 2006
Over the two years since the merger we have continued to improve our
profitability and achieve greater efficiencies from the business. Operating
profit before amortisation and exceptional items has more than doubled, rising
42% in 2005 to £460 million.
Earnings per share before amortisation and exceptional items rose by 25% in 2005
to 8.0 pence per share. The proposed final dividend for 2005 of 1.8 pence per
share will make 3.12 pence for the full year, an increase of 30% on 2004.
Digital multi-channel television has continued to increase rapidly - Freeview
alone has now sold more than ten million boxes. With the first UK region
scheduled for digital switchover in 2008, and subsequent rollout across the
country, it is encouraging that ITV's digital channels continue to perform well,
with ITV2 and ITV3 the top two rated digital channels in Freeview homes over the
first 15 weeks of 2006. Over the coming months we expect ITV2 in particular to
benefit from brand extensions of a number of event television shows on ITV1.
Six months ago we launched ITV4, aimed at attracting a 25-44 male demographic
audience, and it is performing well.
This year we shall be launching more new channels:
• CITV, which is aimed at pre-school and 4-9 year old children, started
on Freeview on 11 March and over its first five weeks has delivered a 0.6% share
of viewing on that platform.
• ITV Play, our participation TV format, started on Freeview on 19
April. During trials run earlier in the year on ITV1 during the night-time
slot, participation TV programming had been achieving a profit of approximately
£2 million per month. With a combination of this new dedicated channel, windows
of programming on other ITV channels and cross-promotion between those channels
we expect ITV Play to contribute meaningfully to our profits this year.
• In the autumn we will commence trials of broadband Internet Protocol
TV using a combination of download and streaming video. This will include
Champions League football programming for the 2006/07 season as well as both
current and archive ITV material.
We have recently raised our target for advertising and interactive revenues from
our digital channels to £250 million per annum by the end of 2008.
ITV1's viewing share in analogue homes is 27% compared to 20% in Freeview homes
and 17% in multichannel. Over the first 15 weeks of 2006, the effect of the
continuing move to digital has been ITV1's share of adult commercial impacts
reducing to 34.9% from 38.8% at the beginning of 2005. Clearly as digital
multichannel penetration reaches completion, we expect to see ITV1's share of
commercial impacts stabilise.
Increasing digital multichannel penetration does also have a positive effect on
ITV's digital channels. In the first 15 weeks of 2006 those channels grew their
share of commercial impacts by a third to 6.1% partly as a result of that
increasing penetration, and partly through an improved viewing performance for
ITV's digital channels taken together on all the digital platforms.
There was a lot of debate a year ago on the potential impact of personal video
recorders (PVRs) which allow advertisements to be skipped when watching time
shifted programming. Data from BARB on the use of PVRs is becoming available
and is extremely encouraging for ITV. The initial findings in PVR homes are
that 86% of viewing is live, with 6% viewed on same day as broadcast (including
paused and continued) and 8% viewed over the following seven days. As one might
expect, the live viewing of ITV1, with a greater proportion of must-see and
event programming, is above 86%. A separate qualitative UK study conducted in
conjunction with the London Business School also supports this positive view of
live viewing in PVR homes.
The new commissioning and scheduling team is now in place and they are
implementing improvements to the schedule architecture and to the commissioning
process to provide ITV1 with the best original material for peak time audiences.
They are also targeting more US acquisitions for ITV's digital channels.
Already this year, ITV1 has had a number of successful new shows that will be
returning in 2007. These included Dancing on Ice, Soapstar Superstar, Lewis,
Wild at Heart and Rebus.
Over the coming months ITV1 will have new event programming including Soccer
Aid and Celebrity X-Factor as well as returning favourites like Cracker, Prime
Suspect, Cold Blood and Vincent.
Total television market net advertising revenue ('NAR') in Q2 2006 is estimated
to be up 3.3% on 2005 although the market indications for June are less
encouraging than expected. Total ITV plc NAR in Q2 2006 is estimated to be up
2.0% on 2005 whilst our ITV1 NAR in Q2 2006 is estimated to be 1.6% lower than
2005. This is a relatively good performance compared to both the total
television and the display advertising markets in the period. An even better
performance is that of ITV's digital channels, up by 50% at £39 million in Q2.
As a result of Q2 performance we have in the first six months to June 2006
improved on Q1 performance and total ITV plc NAR is likely to be down by some 4%
on the first six months of 2005.
Regional advertising as a component of total ITV plc NAR has continued to
perform well and in the first half is up by 16% on 2005 at £97 million. In
addition we are continuing to grow sponsorship revenues, up 19% to £23 million
in the first half.
Total revenues outside ITV1 NAR are forecast to be up 20% in H1 and we have a
target of achieving 50% of our revenue outside ITV1 NAR by the end of 2010.
Last year when addressing capital structure we outlined three priorities:
• to renew the financial terms of the ITV1 licences;
• to address the defined benefit pension scheme deficit; and
• to identify growth opportunities through small acquisitions.
Having made progress with those priorities, we announced in March an initial
return of cash to shareholders of £300 million. We have just commenced that
programme with some share buy-backs in the market.
We are continuing to review our capital structure to assess:
• the appropriate level of distributions to shareholders, especially as
our disposal programme continues;
• maintaining a stable and efficient balance sheet and taking account of
the needs of our stakeholders; and
• improving the returns for our shareholders.
Our focus in 2006 is to use our substantial content assets to:
• strengthen our channel brands;
• develop content outside ITV; and
• drive new revenue streams using all available distribution means.
We are progressing on each of those areas. We have launched new channels,
appointed a new commissioning team, increased revenues from our UK and
international production businesses, and are demonstrating early and positive
results from some of the new businesses in our Consumer division.
Alongside those initiatives we continue to review our operational efficiency and
the use of our strong cash flows to enhance value for shareholders.
Sir Peter Burt, Chairman, said:
'We have a clear focus on improving our efficiency and building on the doubling
of profits over the last two years. We are implementing our strategy for growth
through strengthening our channels, exploiting content and developing new
revenue streams. Our Consumer division is demonstrating some early successes
with businesses like SDN, Friends Reunited and ITV Play and we will continue to
seek additional areas to leverage the value of our content.'
Analysts Tel: 020 7620 1620
Georgina Blackburn Head of IR
ITV Tel: 020 7396 6000
Brigitte Trafford Communications Director
Jim Godfrey Head of Corporate Affairs
Citigate Dewe Rogerson Tel: 020 7638 9571
This information is provided by RNS
The company news service from the London Stock Exchange