Brexit Sees ITV Advertising Slowdown

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As a Brexit-induced slowdown continues to bite, ITV Plc forecasts a 6% decline in advertising sales in the first half of the year.

The outlook was given by Britain’s largest free-to-air commercial broadcaster, while publishing first-quarter results showing a 7% drop in total advertising over the period, in line with its previous guidance.

Chief Executive Carolyn McCall is fighting near-and long-term trends that hit ad sales, accounting for about half of ITV’s revenue. U.K. Companies are diverting expenditure to Brexit planning, while digital players such as Facebook Inc. and Google’s Alphabet Inc. are constantly drawing more of their ad dollars.

McCall seeks to reduce the reliance of the broadcaster on advertising by expanding the production unit of ITV, making hit shows such as “Love Island” and “Coronation Street,” and expanding its division of direct-to-consumer services.

ITV is also turning the subscription model into a formidable rival for Netflix Inc. BritBox, the new streaming platform for ITV with British Broadcasting Corp. is set to begin in the second half of 2019, ITV said on Wednesday.

ITV’s stock has fallen by 12% over the past year, compared to a 4% decline in the FTSE 100 Index and a 6.2% gain in the FTSE 350 Media Index.

ITV said total external revenue dropped 4 percent to 743 million pounds ($ 971 million) in the first quarter, higher than analysts ‘ 736 million pounds forecast in a company-compiled survey.

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