ITV Studios (+9%, £1.52 billion) continues to prop up the company's advertising business (-7%, £1.23 billion)—which faces macro headwinds—helping external revenues for the first nine months of 2023 slightly upwards to £2.53 billion

Q4 is shaping up as a particularly difficult period for advertising with the lead up to Christmas potentially down by 15% YoY

ITVX continues to show growth; given that this is mostly a result of cannibalising ITV's linear audience, there is a ceiling on its potential

ITV’s external revenues saw only a small decline in H1 (-2%), a product of the Studios business’ solid growth (+8%, £1.0 billion) offsetting a very tough period for television advertising, which saw an 11% YoY decline.

Despite the appearance of a contracting market, ITV remains very confident in the continued organic growth of Studios, while the ad market looks to be improving although the full year will be down.

ITVX is growing both in total viewing and the length of viewing session, an outcome of improving the experience and content offering. However, broadcast viewing of ITVX exclusives is lower than might be expected, indicating that cannibalised linear viewing is more of a driver of ITVX growth than ITV seems to suggest.

Advertising activity has shifted dramatically from brand-building to activation in the past few years. Advertisers should resist the pressure to spend even more on activation: those that rebalance to brand building can gain a long-term competitive advantage.

Brand advertising works by building up memories and associations, supporting market share and pricing. This is done best by television, print, audio and out-of-home, but in a rapidly fragmenting media landscape online video and display can no longer just be a supporting act.

Investing in proper cross-channel audience measurement and planning will allow advertisers to use brand advertising effectively across all media, as well as supporting broadcaster and publisher ad revenue. 

Channel 4 was resilient in 2022: highlighted by a 2% YoY drop in total revenues after a record 2021, a quickly growing digital business and a new high for content spend

With privatisation now off the table, in its draft form the Media Bill presents new opportunities and challenges: an “appropriate degree of prominence” on smart TVs and devices, the option to produce content for the first time, and a “sustainability duty”

The effect that these might have is murky without a body of interpretation and mediation, and indeed execution—it appears uncertain whether Channel 4 would begin to produce, with the optics concerning indie producers tricky and accumulation of the required operational skills a long process 

As younger viewers continue to migrate from linear TV to online video-sharing platforms, engaging with the audiences on these platforms is no longer simply an opportunity, but a necessity.

However, this ecosystem offers broadcasters limited monetisation opportunities, reduced audience data and worse attribution than the more lucrative broadcast TV model.

In this fragmented media landscape, broadcasters must maximise their digital reach and exploit incremental revenue opportunities, although linear channels and owned-and-operated platforms will continue to provide the bulk of revenues.

On 18 May 2023, Enders Analysis co-hosted the annual Media and Telecoms 2023 & Beyond Conference with Deloitte, sponsored by Barclays, Financial Times, and Salesforce.

With over 550 attendees and over 40 speakers from the TMT sector, including leading executives, policy leaders, and industry experts, the conference focused on how new technologies, regulation and infrastructure will impact the future of the industry.

This is the edited transcript of Session Three, covering: public service broadcasting and its path to a digital future. Videos of the presentations will be available on the conference website.

We forecast broadcaster viewing to shrink to below half of total video viewing by 2028 (48%)—down from 64% today—as streaming services gain share of long-form viewing time.

On the key advertising battleground of the TV set, broadcasters will still retain scale with a 63% viewing share by 2028, even as SVOD and YouTube double their impact.

Short-form video will continue to displace long-form as video-first apps (e.g. YouTube, Twitch, TikTok) gain further popularity and others (e.g. Facebook, Instagram) continue a relentless pivot to video. This will expand the amount of video watched and transition habits—even amongst older demographics.

ITV's total advertising revenue (TAR) in Q1 was down 10% year-on-year, which was marginally better than expected; Q2 is forecast to be down 12%. However, digital advertising has seen strong growth and now makes up 21% of TAR

ITVX is growing as it continues to offer more exclusive content. However, it is too early to tell whether growth is being driven by newer audiences or if it is just viewing that would have taken place on linear anyway

The publication of the draft Media Bill gives some certainty around the direction that the government will pursue in its update of the legal and regulatory framework for broadcasting. However, there remain a number of blanks left for Ofcom to interpret

UK news publishers have rushed to distribute content on TikTok. They are drawn by its enormous young audience, but poor monetisation and data sharing, a lack of referrals to their own sites, and data security concerns are frustrating a full embrace of the platform.

TikTok is increasingly identified as a ‘news source’ by young people: a risk to publishers distributing content on the platform is that their brands may get lost in user feeds.

Publishers should view activity on TikTok as a strategic cost instead of a revenue source: an investment in brand awareness, and development in content and delivery formats that are becoming more widespread across platforms. Brand visibility is key to success here.

Broadcaster decline accelerated in 2022, with record drops in reach and time spent. This was primarily driven by the lightest and youngest viewers leaving broadcast television while over-65s also reduced their viewing for the first time.

Loss of lighter viewers threatens the future viewing base of broadcasters and relevance to a new generation. Further, broadcaster status as the home of mass audiences becomes compromised.

However, retention of lighter viewers is not yet a lost cause. They are amongst the heaviest Netflix viewers, and the very lightest are spending more time in front of the TV set than previously—suggesting enduring appetite for TV-like content.