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March 9, 2021, 2:30 a.m. EST

ITV profit falls, but sees positive ad trends

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By Adria Calatayud

British broadcaster ITV PLC said Tuesday that pretax profit for 2020 fell and that it is seeing more positive trends in the advertising market in March and April after a challenging start to the year.

The FTSE 250 company said pretax profit for last year was 325 million pounds ($449.2 million) compared with GBP530 million for 2019.

Total group revenue fell 16% to GBP3.26 billion, with studios revenue down 25% and advertising revenue down 11%.

ITV said the advertising environment in the first quarter was challenging, and it expects total advertising revenue to be down around 6% for the quarter. However, the company said ad revenue for March is expected to be up around 8%, with April up between 60% and 75%.

The company said it expects to deliver around GBP100 million of annualized permanent overhead cost savings by 2022, compared with 2019. This compares with its previous guidance of between GBP55 million and GBP60 million.

ITV said its board intends to restore dividend payments as soon as circumstances permit.

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