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ITV posts £105m half-year loss for 2009

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ITV posts £105m half-year loss for 2009
ITV has reported a £105 million pre-tax loss for the first half of 2009 amid tough conditions in the UK TV industry.

Alongside its half-year results published today, the commercial public service broadcaster said that the UK TV industry is currently suffering its worst ever year-on-year decline, with net television advertising revenues down by £277m, or 17%. Despite this, ITV slightly outperformed the market with NAR that dropped by 15%. Its total revenues also fell by 12% to £909m.

In response to this, ITV has made £57m of cost savings across its programming and off-screen activity during the first half of 2009, and is on schedule to cut its operating costs by £155m by the end of the year. This cost cutting will increase to £215m in 2010 and £285 in 2011.

Commenting on the results, ITV executive chairman Michael Grade said: "Our financial results for the half year reflect the impact of the unprecedented downturn in television advertising, offset by the comprehensive action we are taking in mitigation.

"The rate of market decline has eased slightly in the second half and ITV continues to outperform the market. We are maintaining our peak audience share across our channel family and are growing our share of television advertising, while delivering our targeted cost-savings."

The broadcaster's online revenues have actually increased by 6% to £18m as ITV.com experienced 116m online video views in the first half of this year compared to 31m during the same period in 2008. This trend peaked in May with 50m video views by 12.8m unique users. Global content revenues also increased by 4% to £296m, including significant increases in the US and Germany.

Grade said that the company is making good progress with the sale its digital terrestrial multiplex operator SDN, after recently hiring investment bank UBS to broker a deal. The company has also agreed a deal to sell its Friends Reunited website for £25m.

However, as a response to the "uncertain" economic conditions, Grade revealed that the Board has opted to suspend payment of the interim dividend.

He added: "Into the second half, we have a strong autumn schedule and will deliver further substantial cost savings. Whilst UK television advertising remains down year-on-year, the rate of decline has eased and ITV continues to outperform the market.

"With a lower cost base and high gearing to UK television advertising, ITV is well placed to capitalise on any stabilisation in the market and to exploit fully the content we create and broadcast as and when economic conditions improve."

Alongside the results, ITV also revealed that discussions to appoint a new chief executive to replace Grade are proceeding in "accordance with the timetable" laid out in April 2009.

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