ITV hits record 24% ad revenue growth as it enters streaming phase

ITV posts its full 2021 results / Mariel Osborn/ITV

ITV has posted the largest advertising revenue growth in its history, up 24% to hit £1.96bn, with its AVOD ad revenue up 41%. Last year’s total ad revenue beat 2019’s full-year results by 11%, signaling a return to pre-pandemic levels of growth.

Reporting a total group revenue jump of 24% YoY at £3.45bn, the broadcaster announced a major investment in the ITVX streaming platform, which is set to launch in Q4 2022.

Its adjusted group EBITA was up 42% at £813m, which ITV credited to the ad market’s strong recovery and its cost-cutting activities, with £37m slashed in 2021.

Viewing was marginally up, from 22.2% to 22.3%, with the Euros and Love Island’s return bringing in strong ratings along with dramas Pembrokeshire Murders and Grace.

“Last year’s financial performance, together with the successful completion of the first phase of our ’More Than TV’ strategy, sets ITV up for digital acceleration,” said chief executive officer Carolyn McCall. “Our strong balance sheet and cash flows enable us to invest behind our strategy to build a more valuable digital media and entertainment company and deliver returns to shareholders.”

With the launch of ITVX and the continuation of ITV Hub, ITV Hub+, Planet V and BritBox, ITV has forecasted to double its digital revenues to £750m by 2026.

The Board has proposed a final dividend of 3.3p for the full year 2021, based on two-thirds of a notional full-year dividend of 5.0p.

ITV's share price fell 17% in the two hours after the announcement of ITVX.

Elsewhere, ITV has ordered its shows to be taken off air in Russia and halted any sales from ITV Studios to the nation over the Ukraine crisis.