July 25, 2018 / 6:45 AM / in 4 months

ITV's first-half results boosted by World Cup and Love Island

FILE PHOTO: A company sign is displayed outside an ITV studio in London, Britain July 27, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall/File Photo /File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - ITV, Britain’s biggest free-to-air commercial broadcaster, hailed a “fantastic” performance on air and online in its first half, with the World Cup and “Love Island” helping revenue to rise 8 percent to 1.59 billion pounds.

Chief Executive Carolyn McCall, who took over the top job in January, said ITV’s total advertising revenue rose 2 percent as expected, with 48 percent growth from online.

It predicted flat advertising in the third quarter, against what it described as a backdrop of economic uncertainty.

The share of viewing achieved by ITV’s channels rose 9 percent to a 10-year high, the company said, helped by its daytime schedule and drama programming.

To grow further, McCall said she planned to refresh the strategy by increasing its viewing share and advertising revenue, especially online, building up its studios business, and strengthening direct relationships with consumers by offering paid-for content and experiences.

“We will deliver this strategy by building greater capability in data, analytics and technology as well as developing the great creative and commercial talent ITV already has,” McCall said. “Executing the strategy will enable us to continue to deliver sustainable returns to our shareholders.”

Adjusted earnings before interest tax and appreciation (EBITA) fell 7 percent to 375 million pounds ($493.2 million), impacted by the timing of the World Cup, although beating analyst forecasts of 361 million pounds.

($1 = 0.7603 pounds)

Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by Kate Holton

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