Entertainment ITV Returns to Ad Growth, Studio Profit Falls in 2020, Global Streaming Subs Exceed 2.6M
ViacomCBS U.K., Australia Boss on Streaming, Originals, Diversity Focus
Maria Kyriacou talks about growing free-to-air TV networks Channel 5 in Britain and Network 10 in Australia, the acquisition of Israel’s Ananey and the challenges of managing remotely amid the pandemic in her first year at the company.When she started in early 2020, her London-based role at the combined company had changed to president of ViacomCBS Networks U.K. and Australia due to a new regional cluster organization that took effect after the merger.
U.K. TV giant ITV reported an 11 percent drop in advertising revenue for 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday, but said it made good on its forecast of returning to a slight advertising improvement in the fourth quarter, compared with the year-ago period.
Fourth-quarter ad revenue rose 3 percent. Meanwhile, its ITV Studios unit posted a profit decline for the full year 2020. And the company said its BritBox streaming joint venture with the BBC reached half a million U.K. in January and has more than 2.6 million global subscribers.
ITV, led by CEO Carolyn McCall, had late last year said that the return of live sports had started to help advertising trends, with ad revenue falling a less pronounced 7 percent in the third quarter after a big second-quarter drop. Despite a first-quarter gain before the full impact of the pandemic hit, ad revenue for the first nine months of 2020 was down 16 percent, but management at the time forecast that the fourth quarter would see it return to a slight ad gain compared with the same period of 2019.
Little Leo! See Witney Carson and Carson McAllister's Sweetest Pics With Son
Loving life with Leo! Witney Carson gave birth to her baby boy in January 2021 and has been posting pictures of the little one ever since. “After a really hard 24-hour labor and an unexpected C-section, we are all healthy and well,” the Dancing With the Stars pro captioned a black-and-white hospital photo of herself and husband Carson McAllister holding their infant’s hand. “We are so grateful, and we’ve been soaking up every moment with our perfect angel boy. Thank you for all the prayers.” The Utah native exclusively told Us Weekly about her “traumatic” birth experience the following month, saying that she pushed for more than two hours before opting for a C-section. “I was fully dilated and the baby just did not want to come out,” the choreographer told Us in February 2021. “He just was, like, stuck underneath my pelvis for so long. His heart rate started going really high. So we had to do an emergency C-section and obviously, we did whatever was right for the baby.” The dancer did not feel “prepared” for the procedure, explaining, “I had in my head that I was not going to do that at all. We’re just really happy that he’s healthy. That’s the most important thing.” Carson went on to call her son a “sweet little boy” and gushed about his early milestones. “He is so strong. If he’s on his tummy, he’s up with his head the entire time,” the Emmy winner told Us. “He is very alert. He will stare into your eyes … He loves the contrast of lights. He loves bath time.
“Advertising trends are improving with the fourth quarter forecast to be slightly up year on year and 85 percent of our productions in the U.K. and internationally that were paused as a result of COVID-19 are back in production or have been delivered,”. “However, COVID restrictions and further national lockdowns have added production costs and are making it challenging to bring ITV Studios productions back to full capacity.”
Due to new pandemic lockdown measures introduced early in 2021, the first quarter of the year has been more challenging again, with ITV forecasting a 6 percent ad revenue drop. “We are now seeing more positive trends, with March expected to be up around 8 percent and April expected to be up between 60 percent and 75 percent, with the four months to the end of April up between 5 percent and 7 percent,” the company said.
Piers Morgan Storms Off U.K. Morning Show After Colleague Calls Out His Meghan Markle Comments
The ‘Good Morning Britain’ host lost his cool after the show’s weatherman Alex Beresford criticized his tirades against the Sussexes.Morgan, the host of ITV’s Good Morning Britain, was called out by the show’s weatherman Alex Beresford for his one-man tirade against the Sussexes on Monday, particularly against Markle, and how blithely the America’s Got Talent judge dismissed issues of mental health and suicide ideation.
“We are encouraged by the roadmap out of lockdown,” McCall said, referencing the U.K. government’s plan to lift all coronavirus pandemic restrictions by late June, if all goes well. “We are seeing more positive trends in the advertising market in March and April and the majority of our programs are now back in production. However, there remains uncertainty in all markets around the world with the potential risk of lockdowns, which if they materialize will affect revenues.”
She added: “We are committed to taking further cost out of the business while further investing to accelerate the delivery of our strategy and digital transformation. We have restructured the broadcast business to create the media and entertainment division to better respond to changing viewing habits. ITV Studios is well positioned to take advantage of the continued strong growth in the demand for quality content internationally.”
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, made formal complaint to UK broadcaster over Piers Morgan's comments
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, made a formal complaint to British broadcaster ITV relating to Piers Morgan's comments about her mental health, CNN has learned. © Harpo Productions/Joe Pugliese/Getty Images UNSPECIFIED - UNSPECIFIED: In this handout image provided by Harpo Productions and released on March 5, 2021, Oprah Winfrey interviews Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on A CBS Primetime Special premiering on CBS on March 7, 2021.
ITV said it is eyeing around £100 million ($138.6 million) of “annualized permanent overhead cost savings” by 2022, compared with 2019, up from its previous guidance of £55 million-£60 million ($69.3 million-$83.1 million). “Around £30 million ($41.2 million) of these savings will be delivered in 2021.”
ITV on Tuesday reported that its 2020 revenue dropped 16 percent to £3.3 billion ($4.6 billion), with adjusted earnings before interest, taxes and amortization down 21 percent to £573 million ($795 million). Earnings per share for the year dropped 22 percent.
that it had acquired Oprah With Meghan and Harry, the Oprah Winfrey interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, which it aired on Monday at 9 p.m. on its flagship TV channel after in the U.S.
On Monday,that it was coming to Amazon Prime Video Channels this spring.
ITV Takes Majority Control of ‘Equinox’ Producer Apple Tree .
ITV Studios has taken majority control of Danish production group Apple Tree. Founded by Piv Bernth (‘The Killing’) and Lars Hermann (‘Follow the Money’), two of Scandinavia’s most successful TV producers, Apple Tree make high-end Scandinavian drama for the global market, including supernatural thriller ‘Equinox’ for Netflix.ITV has boosted its stake in Apple Tree from 25 percent to 51 percent, the company announced Monday, saying the move was part of a broader strategy to strengthen its global scripted production base.