Rugby World Cup boosts ITV’s audience figures

File photo dated 01/11/15 of New Zealand's Dan Carter with the Webb Ellis Cup during the Rugby World Cup Final at Twickenham, London, as broadcaster ITV said the Rugby World Cup and popular live episodes of Coronation Street and Emmerdale helped improve under-pressure audience figures. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday November 10, 2015. The group, which is home to shows including Downton Abbey and The X Factor, said it narrowed falls in its share of Britain's television audience over the past few months. See PA story CITY ITV. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire
File photo dated 01/11/15 of New Zealand's Dan Carter with the Webb Ellis Cup during the Rugby World Cup Final at Twickenham, London, as broadcaster ITV said the Rugby World Cup and popular live episodes of Coronation Street and Emmerdale helped improve under-pressure audience figures. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday November 10, 2015. The group, which is home to shows including Downton Abbey and The X Factor, said it narrowed falls in its share of Britain's television audience over the past few months. See PA story CITY ITV. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire
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Broadcaster ITV said the Rugby World Cup and popular live episodes of Coronation Street and Emmerdale helped improve under-pressure audience figures.

The group, which is home to shows including Downton Abbey and The X Factor, said it narrowed falls in its share of Britain’s television audience over the past few months.

Despite the rugby boost and surging viewing figures for its soaps, the group’s overall share of the TV audience fell 3 per cent to 21.2 per cent in the 10 months to October 31, although this marked a slight improvement since its half year, when it dropped to its lowest level for at least 15 years, at 21.1 per cent.

But ITV boss Adam Crozier confirmed the group was on track for “another year of double digit profit growth” as revenues continue to rise - up 13 per cent to £2.05 billion in the nine months to September 30 thanks to an ongoing recovery in advertising spend.

ITV remained tight-lipped on speculation that it is buying The Voice UK after the BBC recently said the talent show had been poached by a rival broadcaster.

The BBC said at the weekend that the fifth series starting in January would be the last broadcast on BBC One.

ITV declined to comment.

ITV said the Rugby World Cup was the second most watched rugby tournament since records began after it averaged 3.3 million viewers, with a 23 per cent audience share.

The England v Wales game on September 26 was watched by 10.4 million viewers, peaking at 11.6 million, making it the most watched sporting event of the year and the most watched rugby match since the 2007 world cup final between England and South Africa.

The live episode of Coronation Street to mark ITV’s 60th birthday in September was another success for the group, watched by 9.4 million viewers - a 37% audience share.

Mr Crozier said “all parts of the business” had performed well over the first nine months of its financial year, adding that the outlook for 2016 was also “encouraging”.

He said: “As we expected, share of viewing has improved in the second half driven by strong performances in daytime, the soaps and the Rugby World Cup, and continuing this trend remains a key focus for the business.”

Its broadcast and online revenues rose 7 per cent to £1.53 billion, helped by a 6 per cent rise in net advertising revenues for its ITV channels.

ITV Studios revenues lifted 28 per cent, bolstered by a string of acquisitions such as Talpa Media, maker of The Voice.

The group expects advertising revenues to rise by at least 5 per cent over the full-year.

Shares were nearly 2 per cent ahead after the update.

Roddy Davidson, media analyst at Shore Capital, said: “We are pleased with the continuing momentum evident in this morning’s update and are bullish on ITV’s unrivalled ability to deliver a large mass market audience to advertisers.”

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