Now ITV’s profits more than HALVE after advertising on crisis-hit channel plunged in


ITV profits more than halved in the first six months of 2023 as the broadcaster suffered a weak advertising market and upped investment in ITVX.

Adjusted earning fell by 52 per cent to £152 million in the six months to the end of June 2023. 

But ITV Studios, which makes popular shows Love Island and The Chase, saw an 8 per cent jump in revenues, which hit £1billion in the period for the first time.

The plummet in profits comes as the broadcaster has been embroiled in a series of scandals in recent weeks. 

ITV came under fire last month after former This Morning host Phillip Schofield  admitted lying to The Mail on Sunday about an affair he had with a younger male colleague. The programme was later accused of having a toxic working culture. 

The broadcaster was hit with controversy again today after it emerged that James Martin has been reprimanded over allegations he bullied and intimidated staff on his food show.

ITV's adjusted EBITA profits fell by 52 per cent to £152 million in the six months to the end of June

ITV’s adjusted EBITA profits fell by 52 per cent to £152 million in the six months to the end of June 

Dame Carolyn McCall (pictured last month), chief executive of ITV, said today: 'As we said at the full year results in March, 2023 is the year of peak net investment in our streaming business and we expect profit to grow from here'

Dame Carolyn McCall (pictured last month), chief executive of ITV, said today: ‘As we said at the full year results in March, 2023 is the year of peak net investment in our streaming business and we expect profit to grow from here’

ITV reports that total advertising revenue in its first half declined 11 per cent to £811million while total revenues slipped 1 per cent to just under £2billion.

Dame Carolyn McCall, chief executive of ITV, said: ‘Looking forward we see a more encouraging outlook as advertisers build their campaigns around the large streaming and linear audiences expected to be drawn to the Women’s World Cup, the Rugby World Cup and the eagerly anticipated return of Big Brother.’ 

While advertising suffered, ITV was handed a boost from digital revenue growth of 24 per cent via its ITVX platform. 

McCall said digital revenue growth was due to a ‘step change in our viewer metrics – with more viewers watching more content and staying longer’, adding that the group is on track to achieve ‘at least’ £750million of sales by 2026. 

She added: ‘As we said at the full year results in March, 2023 is the year of peak net investment in our streaming business and we expect profit to grow from here.’ 

ITV also revealed that advertising revenue was expected to be down 4 per cent in July and up 7 per cent in August.

The company said that it was too early to give a forecast for September although the signs were positive and it expected to see growth in the third quarter.

The news comes after earlier this month, ITV told investors that it was no longer considering an acquisition of television production company All3Media.

The potential deal emerged last month with reports suggesting ITV was ‘actively exploring’ a takeover of the Fleabag and Gogglebox maker, in a deal that was said to be worth more than £1billion.

But McCall told investors ITV is ‘no longer actively exploring’ a potential deal, though it will ‘continue to monitor’ the Warner Bros Discovery and Liberty Global-owned firm.

News of ITV’s plummeting profits comes as the broadcaster today confirmed that it had spoken to Mr Martin after concerns were raised over the treatment of crew members during the filming of James Martin’s Spanish Adventure in May.

It is thought this is the second time ITV has been made aware of Mr Martin’s conduct following a separate incident in 2018, when he allegedly launched a foul-mouthed tirade against staff after a drain was blocked at his home during the production of his show, James Martin’s Saturday Morning. 

After investigating the matter, ITV chiefs told the programme’s production company Blue Marlin that changes would be made immediately, online news website Deadline reports. Mr Martin said ‘lessons have been learned’ and apologised for ‘acting emotionally’.

Sources at ITV told the Mail that bosses would be taking a ‘close interest in any future filming’ featuring the chef, whose affable demeanour has earned him a huge fan base. 

James Martin has been spoken to by ITV bosses over allegations he bullied and intimidated staff on his Spanish Adventures series

James Martin has been spoken to by ITV bosses over allegations he bullied and intimidated staff on his Spanish Adventures series 

A statement from the channel said: ‘Following a complaint we received in May from members of the Blue Marlin production team about the filming of James Martin’s Spanish Adventure, we contacted Blue Marlin to discuss these concerns and to understand how the issues raised were being addressed and what actions were being taken.’ 

ITV said it had made a number of recommendations for the production company to implement ‘as soon as possible’, including ‘best practice’ over staff welfare procedures.

It also said it had reiterated the company’s Supplier Code of Conduct to the company, which stipulates that the making of programmes aired on the network are free from ‘harassment and abuse’ and that crews are treated with ‘courtesy, dignity and respect’.

Sources at ITV say the recommendations are in the process of being implemented and that they are ‘not prepared to tolerate any kind of unkind behaviour’.

In a joint statement, Mr Martin and Blue Marlin said they  ‘agree lessons have been learned’.

The recent complaints are thought to be the second allegation of bullying against the chef, who was accused in 2018 of launching a foul-mouthed tirade after a drain was blocked at his home during the production of James Martin’s Saturday Morning.

An ITV source said the broadcaster did not have a record of that complaint, but Blue Marlin admitted that Mr Martin had ‘responded emotionally’ and subsequently apologised.

After investigating the matter, ITV chiefs told the programme's production company Blue Marlin that changes would be made immediately

After investigating the matter, ITV chiefs told the programme’s production company Blue Marlin that changes would be made immediately

James Martin’s Spanish Adventure was commissioned by the channel’s entertainment boss Katie Rawcliffe, who has previously made it clear that she wants the culture at the broadcaster – and its shows – to be ‘kinder’.

The allegations about Mr Martin come just weeks after ITV was embroiled in the scandal surrounding Mr Schofield.

A Blue Marlin spokesperson said: ‘An unfortunate incident occurred after filming James Martin’s Saturday Morning in 2018 where James’ home was badly damaged. 

‘Blue Marlin Television accepted responsibility. James was shocked by what had happened and on reflection acknowledges he responded emotionally, which he wholly regrets.

‘James apologises for any offence or upset caused, as he did at the time to the crew involved.’ 

They added: ‘Following this and some issues filming James Martin’s Spanish Adventures, James and Blue Marlin Television agree that lessons have been learned which have been discussed with members of the team and with ITV.

‘Blue Marlin Television and James Martin have taken on board ITV’s recommendations and their sharing of best practice, and are in the process of fully implementing.

‘Since the 2018 incident, Blue Marlin Television has continued to film over 500 shows at James’ home. 

‘Blue Marlin Television remains committed to ensuring the welfare of all those with whom they work is of the utmost priority.’

An ITV spokesman said: ‘At ITV people and their welfare are our highest priority. The production companies who make shows for us have primary responsibility for the duty of care of everyone they work with, both on and off screen.

‘We make clear our expectations in this regard as part of our pre-greenlight duty of care processes. This includes having appropriate independent controls in place to enable everyone who works on their shows to confidently and confidentially raise concerns.

‘Following a complaint we received in May from members of the Blue Marlin production team about the filming of James Martin’s Spanish Adventure, we contacted Blue Marlin to discuss these concerns and to understand how the issues raised were being addressed and what actions were being taken.

‘As a result, we made a number of recommendations for Blue Marlin to implement as soon as possible, sharing best practice of some of our own relevant procedures around staff welfare and reiterating our Supplier Code of Conduct.’

Scandal: Phillip Schofield was axed by ITV after admitting to an ‘unwise but not illegal’ affair with a younger male colleague

Last month, Dame Carolyn admitted she failed to launch a formal investigation into Mr Schofield’s affair when rumours emerged within the network.

The chief executive was among three broadcast bosses grilled by the Culture, Media and Sport Committee in the wake of the presenter’s departure after admitting to an ‘unwise but not illegal’ affair with a younger male colleague.

Mr Schofield’s lover, referred to during the hearing as ‘Person X’, denied the relationship with the former host of This Morning ’12 times’ when quizzed, but an official probe was never launched.

Dame Carolyn was told by SNP MP John Nicholson: ‘This morning you’ve talked about the way ITV talked to [Person X]. You’ve called it a review twice and an investigation once.’

She then interjected to clarify: ‘I’ve never called it an ‘investigation’. I might have said ‘investigated’.

‘We did investigate, but I wouldn’t call it an ‘investigation’ because that gives it a kind of formality and structure that, because of the rumours and because of the time period, it didn’t have.’

In a statement the month before, once the affair was exposed, a spokesman said: ‘ITV can confirm that when rumours of a relationship between Phillip Schofield and an employee of ITV first began to circulate in early 2020 ITV investigated.

‘Both parties were questioned and both categorically and repeatedly denied the rumours as did Phillip’s then-agency YMU.’

Giving evidence: Managing director of media and entertainment Kevin Lygo, ITV boss Dame Carolyn McCall and general counsel and company secretary Kyla Mullins  in the House Of Commons last month

Giving evidence: Managing director of media and entertainment Kevin Lygo, ITV boss Dame Carolyn McCall and general counsel and company secretary Kyla Mullins  in the House Of Commons last month 

Mr Schofield was accused of bullying by former culture secretary Nadine Dorries, who told of her bad experience after appearing on This Morning.

‘I just found him to be quite bullying in his attitude towards the co-host who was standing in for Holly Willoughby,’ she told the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg: ‘That made me feel more uncomfortable than answering the questions. 

‘When the camera was on me and I was talking, he started aggressively jabbing at the scripts with his hands, the pages were rattling. The co-presenter looked terrified.’  

This Morning’s former resident doctor Ranj Sing also spoke out, slamming its ‘toxic’ culture and saying he raised concerns about ‘bullying and discrimination’. He said he felt like he was ‘managed out’ for whistleblowing. 

Former This Morning presenter Eamonn Holmes also hit out at Mr Schofield, claiming he had ‘created an atmosphere’ on the programme ‘where people hated him’, labelling him a ‘chief narcissist’ whom others wanted to avoid.

This week it emerged that This Morning will be centred around Schofield’s former friend and co-presenter Holly Willoughby when she returns in September.

ITV had been mulling over making a big money hiring to replace Mr Schofield but decided not to.

Starring role: This week it emerged that This Morning will be centered around Schofield's former friend and co-presenter Holly Willoughby when she returns in September

Starring role: This week it emerged that This Morning will be centered around Schofield’s former friend and co-presenter Holly Willoughby when she returns in September 

The star will instead have rotating co-hosts when she fronts the show from Monday to Thursday rather than chiefs poaching a bigger star from a rival show or channel.

Insiders at This Morning say that they will mostly be Josie Gibson and Craig Doyle, though Ms Willoughby, 42, will be joined sporadically by Dermot O’Leary and Alison Hammond who currently host on Fridays and holidays.

It means that Ms Willoughby’s dream that she would be paired with Ms Hammond, 48, is over because she is too busy to commit to working four days on the daytime show, say insiders.

Ms Willoughby, who is currently on a family holiday on the Algarve, is to sign a new contract ‘any day now’ which could be even more lucrative than the £700,000 deal that she is already on.

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