BBC buys ITV’s 50% stake in Britbox International

ITV has sold its 50% shareholding in BritBox International to its joint venture partner BBC Studios for £255m in cash.

Net proceeds of the transaction are estimated at around £235m, including loan repayments, dividends and after tax. ITV is planning to return the funds to shareholders through share buybacks after the release of its full-year results on 7 March.

The commercial broadcaster said that it wanted to focus on “supercharging” its UK advertiser-funded streaming service, ITVX, and growing its global Studios division.

Under the terms of the agreement, ITV Studios will continue to receive an ongoing revenue stream from BritBox International similar to current levels through extended licensing agreements for ITV content.

BritBox UK is unaffected and will still feature BBC content as part of separate long-term agreements.

“We are taking full ownership of a successful, growing service we know well and that fits with our stated ambition to double the size of our business,” commented Tom Fussell, chief executive of BBC Studios.

“BritBox International has British content at its heart and it generates and satisfies demand for British shows outside the UK.

“We will continue to make significant investments in the future to deliver long-term value to the BBC.”

ITV no longer exploring All3Media bid

ITV plc has withdrawn from a possible acquisition of All3Media.

The broadcaster said on Friday that continued to monitor the situation but was “no longer actively exploring” an offer for the television and film production company.

The potential acquisition — expected to be valued at over £1bn — was first announced on 16 June 2023.

All3Media is the producer of popular shows including Fleabag, Gogglebox, Midsomer Murders and Call the Midwife as well as Oscar-winning film 1917. Jointly owned by Warner Bros. Discovery and Liberty Global, the company generated record revenue of £1.02bn and EBITDA of £100.2m in 2022.

“ITV plc assesses all potential value-creating M&A opportunities against its strict financial criteria and disciplined capital allocation framework,” the broadcaster said in a statement.

ITV already operates its own production business, ITV Studios, which makes a variety of shows including The Voice, Love Island and Line of Duty.

ITV reports 12% drop in profit

ITV plc has reported lower profit for 2022 despite an increase in revenue, after investing in the business.

The commercial broadcaster generated total group revenue of £4.3bn for the 12 months to 31 December 2022, up 7%, with ITV Studios revenue growing 19% to £2.1bn.

Adjusted group earnings were down 12% to £717m following a 1% decline in total advertising revenue and ITV’s investment in M&E (media and entertainment) to drive future growth, which was partly funded by £23m of cost savings.

The company has significantly increased the volume of content available for streaming, from 4,000 hours in 2021 to 19,000 in 2022, and its digital advertising revenue last year grew 17% to £343m.

“As a result of ITV’s deliberate strategic actions and strong execution, ITV has a scaled and expanding global production business, a rapidly growing targeted digital advertising business, a resilient linear TV advertising business and a unique vertically integrated producer broadcaster and streamer model,” said chief executive Carolyn McCall.

“This means that ITV is now a demonstrably more balanced business which is ideally placed to take advantage of the growing demand for quality content from viewers, broadcasters and streamers and take a larger share of the digital advertising market.”

ITVX, the broadcaster’s relaunched streaming service, attracted 1.5 million new registrations in its first two months and total streaming hours increased by 69% compared to the same period a year earlier.

Broadcaster ITV looks to the Nordic region with acquisition of Finland’s Tarinatalo

British broadcaster ITV Plc (LON:ITV) on Monday said it had taken over Finnish factual entertainment, reality and lifestyle programmes producer Tarinatalo Oy, in line with its transformation strategy aimed at boosting international content business.

Financial terms were not revealed.

ITV Studios International’s managing director Paul Buccieri described the acquired business as a very creative producer with strong relationships with Finnish broadcasters and a substantial portfolio of hit shows, as well as a large number of ideas under development.
ITV will work towards the future growth of Tarinatalo, which has so far expanded fast in terms of size, programme genre, licensing and online, he added.

With this move, which follows ITV’s recent buy of Norwegian indie Mediacircus, ITV Studios, with already a presence in Sweden, achieves a footprint in three Nordic countries.

Set up in 1997, Tarinatalo also co-produced the 2007 Eurovision song contest held in Helsinki.

Hans Engholm, the CEO of ITV Studios Nordic, of which Tarinatalo will be part, said in a comment that the Finnish producer has experience in creating and selling formats for the international market, in keeping with ITV’s current goal of building a strong creative business.

Tarinatalo’s chief executive Aram Aflatuni welcomed the transaction as well, pointing out the importance of forming a Nordic creative hub with producers in Sweden and Norway.

Apart from ITV Studios, the British group also operates through its Broadcasting & Online segment.

Broadcaster ITV acquires production firm So Television

British broadcaster ITV Plc (LON:ITV) said it had purchased production company So Television for a maximum price of GBP17m (USD27m/EUR21.5m), as part of plans to boost its capability in the production of TV entertainment programming.

ITV, carrying out the deal through its fully-owned unit ITV Studios Ltd, will provide GBP10m of the total price in cash upfront and an additional cash payment based on SO Television’s profits to 31 July 2016, the buyer said.

The acquired business, set up by Graham Norton and Graham Stuart 12 years ago, produces entertainment and comedy programmes such as The Graham Norton Show and The Sarah Millican Television Programme.

The Graham Norton Show was recommissioned by BBC earlier in 2012 through 2014 and it is also distributed internationally and broadcast in 100 other countries.
The deal serves ITV’s five-year transformation plan to build world-class content for free and pay platforms in the UK and abroad, the buyer said.

ITV Studios’ managing director Kevin Lygo said in a comment that his company can bring scale to So Television. The new owner will keep The Graham Norton Show as a top programme, while adding new programming, Lygo explained.

Graham Norton and Graham Stuart welcomed the transaction, saying that under the umbrella of ITV, So Television will have the strength needed to continue its growth.

ITV Set To Be Real Winner In X Factor Final

UK terrestrial TV channel ITV are all set for what will be the most lucrative British TV show of all time with their weekend showing of the X Factor Final.

The channel are expecting to rake in £25m in advertising revenue over Saturday and Sunday night as the hugely popular singing show draws to a climax with four contestants battling it out for the title. Young rapper Cher Lloyd, smooth crooner Matt Cardle, Liverpool soulstress Rebecca Ferguson and teenage boyband One Direction are all in the running for a £1m record label prize and a massive catapult into the music business.

According to ITV figures, this weekend’s X Factor could earn £10,000 per second as 30-second commercial break slots sell for as much as £300,000. The show is expected to be the most-watched TV event of the year with over 20million viewers predicted to watch the Sunday night results.
And The Guardian reports that ITV has increased its usual allocation of five commercial breaks within each show to six to maximise its revenue potential. The paper maintains that advertisers are paying up to £250,000 for slots on the Sunday night show, and around £200,000 on Saturday.

As well as advertising cash, the money will also roll in from those phoning in to vote for their favourite act. The X Factor’s money-spinning ability has soared and it is expected to smash through the £100million advertising revenue mark for the first time this year.

Advertisers thought to have been in talks about taking up the slots in the final include Microsoft, BSkyB, Pizza Hut and Hallmark. The X Factor final is now regarded as the British version of the U.S. Superbowl in that it is the TV event of the year for advertisers.