ITV profits fall in tough year as group hails advertising bounce back

Broadcasting giant ITV has posted a 6% fall in profits after a "challenging" 2017, but said advertising sales are bouncing back thanks to a strong line-up including Dancing On Ice and the upcoming Fifa World Cup.

The group reported underlying pre-tax profits of £800 million for last year, down from £847 million in 2016 after advertising sales fell 5% to £1.6 billion, affected by the "uncertain economic environment".

New boss Carolyn McCall - who took on the top job last month after seven years as chief executive of easyJet - praised a strong performance in difficult conditions and said a "strategic refresh" was underway.

She added ITV had seen a "great start" to 2018 and the group is expecting advertising revenues to continue recovering in the first half, with growth of 1% in the first quarter and growth in the second quarter, helped by the World Cup football tournament.

She said: "There is no doubt that ITV's operational performance in 2017 in a challenging environment was strong."

"We are very focused on our strategic refresh. This will enable us to define a clear strategy and priorities that will highlight the opportunities and address the challenges that we face in an increasingly competitive media landscape. This project is well underway."

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