ITV advertising revenues hit by coronavirus outbreak

ITV said that advertising from across all sectors has been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, as it said it could not provide accurate guidance for the year’s trading outlook.

The broadcaster said the most recent Government measures, which have resulted in restaurant and shop closures, have “had an increasing impact on our advertising revenues”.

It said forecasts for March and April have deteriorated since last week, when it said travel advertising was particularly impacted.

ITV also said that restrictions on working practices are now “having a significant impact on ITV Studios’ ability to film productions”.

Filming on soaps Coronation Street and Emmerdale has now been suspended due to concerns over the pandemic.

A “significant number” of its productions, in the UK and internationally, have been paused and contingency plans are being implemented “to produce as many programmes as possible”.

It said it expects to reduce its programme budget by at least £100 million after a spending review in light of weaker advertising revenues.

This will reflect savings from the postponement of Euro 2020, the late delivery of commissioned programming and other spending reductions.

Carolyn McCall, chief executive of ITV, said: “We are operating in unprecedented and uncertain times, requiring us to take difficult decisions, plan carefully and act with speed.

“Our absolute priority is to protect our people, while trying to ensure that we deliver the news and programmes our viewers value and love to watch, and to keep them informed.

“We are actively taking measures to reduce costs and manage our cash flow so that we are best positioned to continue to deliver our strategy of building a digitally-led media and entertainment company over the medium term.”