ITV sees profits rise 18% despite falling audience share


Broadcaster ITV has announced its sixth straight year of double-digit profit growth despite falling audience figures.

Underlying profits before tax rose 18% for the full year to £843 million, with total revenues climbing 14% to £3.3 billion over the same period.

It also forecast a bright year ahead for the business and announced a special dividend of 10p per share.

Its family share of viewing was down 3%.

Chief executive Adam Crozier said: "As we look to 2016 and beyond, we see further significant opportunities for growth across the company organically and through acquisitions and partnerships."

The broadcaster, which is home to shows including Downton Abbey and The X Factor, said audience figures came under pressure from the launch of new digital channels, a poor performance from some programmes and a strong year for the BBC.

It said it net advertising revenues grew 6% for the year to £1.7 billion, up from £1.6 billion in 2014.

The company said the announcement of the special dividend of 10p - equivalent to £400 million - reflected the board's confidence in the business and its strong cash generation.