Nathalie Thomas: Crozier proves a hit but his ratings are a long way from blockbuster

ITV boss Adam Crozier could never be accused of over-egging the pudding. Most company chiefs would have given their right arm to announce the kind of double-digit profit growth disclosed by the broadcasting giant yesterday.

But then the softly spoken Scots-born executive was never likely to put on the kind of flamboyant show associated with predecessor Michael Grade's tenure at ITV.

As he talked through the company's half-year numbers with the City's media analysts yesterday morning, Crozier was the king of understatement.

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He talked of "solid progress" but, despite a 45 per cent jump in underlying profit to 240 million, was cautious not to over-state the company's achievements as he and chairman Archie Norman continue to drag the broadcaster along the painful path of modernisation.

The pair are now almost 12 months into a five-year "transformation plan" to bring ITV into the 21st century. Were they the kind of men to crow about their successes, then there is plenty of evidence of change to justify popping a few Champagne corks.

Yesterday, for example, ITV recommended its first dividend payment since 2008 while the creative juices appear to be flowing once again at its troubled production arm, ITV Studios, which hadn't produced an international hit show since Dancing on Ice in 2006.

Now under the leadership of former Channel 4 director Kevin Lygo, ITV Studios can boast 68 commissions so far this year. Successes have included Vera and Marchlands, while viewers can soon look forward - or otherwise - to Red Or Black, a game show hosted by Ant and Dec, which has been co-produced with Simon Cowell's entertainment production business, Syco. Crozier was obviously pleased with progress on the content front, pointing out that viewing has increased for the "first time in many years", but he and the former Asda boss Norman are right to be cautious about the journey that lies ahead.

One of the key tenets of the transformation plan is to reduce the proportion of revenues generated from traditional forms of TV advertising to less than 50 per cent over the next few years.

Crozier insists the firm is "laying the foundations to build new revenues", but admits that it is "early days yet" before ITV, which reacted woefully slowly to the structural changes in the industry, catches up with, and is able to make serious money from, the digital and online revolution.

Although Crozier and Norman appear to have the backing of most of the Square Mile's media minds for now, there are those who point out that much of their progress since taking the helm has been thanks to wider market conditions and the real battles are yet to come.

Investec Securities analyst, Steve Liechti, pointed out that ITV is tackling its "mid-term issues, but has some way to go".

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While the duo may have taken a few early wickets, the series is far from in the bag.Beautiful manufacturing swan reverts to an ugly duckling

GOOD news on the economy is becoming as rare as a prime minister who hasn't wined and dined with the upper crust of News International.

As if the latest GDP figures, which showed growth of just 0.2 per cent in the second quarter, weren't bruising enough, we're now being battered with news that Scotland's once healthy manufacturing sector is staring into the barrel of a gun.

Not long ago, manufacturing was the roaring success story of the UK and Scottish economies, with economists even talking of the resurgence of a sector that was once thought to be in terminal decline.

But with manufacturing now joining other key industries on the rocks, it's difficult to find any chinks of light in the black cloud that is stubbornly sitting atop the economy.

There is a growing smell of desperation as politicians and economists scratch around for various remedies, including more quantitative easing and tax cuts for certain sectors.

Scottish finance minister John Swinney yesterday became the latest to join the chorus of voices calling for a change of tack from the coalition government, when he wrote to Chancellor George Osborne demanding a fresh approach to boost the fragile economy. Swinney called for an improved programme of capital investment, better access to affordable finance for businesses, and support for growth and job security in the public sector.

But like many similar letters that have arrived at No 11 Downing Street before it, it's likely that the entreaties contained in Swinney's correspondence will fall on deaf ears as the Chancellor resolutely sticks to his "plan A".

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Until recently, economists, policymakers and business organisations were managing to maintain an air of calm against the tide of increasingly depressing news on the economy.

Now the desperate paddling going on beneath the surface is clear for all to see.