ITV ‘stronger and more balanced’

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DOWNTON Abbey and Britain’s Got Talent helped ITV post higher profits as the resurgence of its studios business helped overcome a flat advertising market.

Chief executive Adam Crozier said ITV was becoming a “stronger and more balanced business”, with more than £1 billion in non-advertising revenues last year.

Much of this has come from its production arm, which grew revenues by £100 million to £712m last year following the success of programmes such as Titanic and Vera for ITV and Shetland for the BBC.

Across the business, revenues rose 3 per cent to £2.2 billion with adjusted profits ahead 17 per cent to £464m.

ITV shares have surged to a five-year high and shareholders were encouraged yesterday after the company said it would pay a special dividend worth £156m.

During 2012, ITV said it broadcast the highest-rating drama in Downton Abbey, the most-watched soap in Coronation Street and, in Britain’s Got Talent, the highest-rating entertainment show.