ITV has reported a fall in profits for 2017, hit by a slide in advertising revenue which the broadcaster attributed to an uncertain economic outlook.
The company on Wednesday said that net advertising revenue had declined by 5 per cent in the year to the end of December, to £1.59bn. Overall profit before tax slipped by £47m, or 6 per cent, to £800m.
“ITV has delivered a strong operational performance in a challenging year with ongoing economic and political uncertainty in the UK,” the company said. It added that it had taken “action early to reduce overhead costs” but that the uncertainty had “undoubtedly had an impact on the demand for television advertising and therefore as expected ITV’s financial performance”.
Total revenue inched 2 per cent higher to £3.1bn compared to the same period a year earlier. The company also said that in 2017, the foreign currency benefit was £43m on revenue.
For the coming year, it struck an optimistic note, saying that 2018 had started strong thanks to viewing figures being bolstered by shows like Dancing On Ice, The Voice, Endeavour, Trauma and the Six Nations Rugby.
It also said that the Fifa World Cup over the summer would likely boost advertising spend.
The full-year results mark the first to be reported under Carolyn McCall, who joined as chief executive in January following a seven-year stint leading budget airline easyJet.