ITV posts massive £2.7 billion loss

ITV's profits down
ITV's profits down

ITV announced today that it reported a full-year pre-tax loss of £2.7 billion, a stark contrast to last year's pre-tax profits of £188 million. The media company's underlying profits also fell 41 per cent, from £281 million to £167 million.

This significant downturn has lead to the company announcing that 600 jobs are to go, most of them from ITV's Kirkstall Road studios in Leeds.

First quarter profits down

It is television advertising that was most affected in 2008, a trend that is continuing as first quarter profits for 2009 are already down 17 per cent year on year.

Michael Grade has called the advertising climate for TV "the most challenging I have experienced in over 30 years in UK broadcasting."

Programmes affected

The job losses and belt tightening could hit some well-known television programmes hard.

ITV has already announced that Heartbeat and its spin-off The Royal will come to the end of their tenure in 2010, but the cuts could see programmes like Emmerdale and This Morning affected.

"Our priorities have to be aligned to the changed economic context," said Grade in a statement. "The board therefore recognises that the 2012 revenue targets set in 2007 are no longer appropriate and we are focusing on our core business as a producer-broadcaster, on reducing our costs and on cash generation."

Online profits up

ITV did post a 9 per cent increase in profits for its online portfolio. This is mainly due to significant investment in and its VoD service.

Its other online venture, Friends Reunited, saw its profits plummet 18 per cent. The company is currently trying to sell the website, which it bought in 2005 for £120 million.

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.