May 8, 2019 / 6:57 AM / 2 months ago

UPDATE 1-UK broadcaster ITV's first-quarter revenue hit by weak ad demand

(Adds details)

LONDON, May 8 (Reuters) - British broadcaster ITV reported a 4 percent drop in first-quarter revenue on Wednesday due to weaker advertising demand caused by the late timing of Easter and political and economic uncertainty.

The company, which broadcasts soap opera Coronation Street, reported revenue of 743 million pounds ($971 million), beating market forecasts of a steeper drop to 729 million pounds.

Chief Executive Carolyn McCall said the outcome was “very much as expected”, with ITV performing well onscreen and online, driven by new dramas Manhunt, Cheat, Cleaning Up and The Bay.

Production division ITV Studios, which makes hit show “Line of Duty”, reported a 1 percent rise in revenue in the quarter, and McCall said it would deliver good growth over the year.

It also signed a deal with ad tech company Amobee to offer better programmatic advertising on its ITV Hub on-demand service, giving advertisers the choice to reach mass audiences on its channels and data-driven targeted audiences online.

ITV said advertising in April, which included the Easter holiday, was up 8 percent and was forecast to be down 2 percent in May and down around 20 percent in June, a month that saw exceptional demand a year ago due to the Football World Cup.

$1 = 0.7650 pounds Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by Kate Holton

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