ITV earnings fall by half as ad business flatlines

UK broadcaster ITV has reported a 50% decline in adjusted earnings (EBITDA) to £165 million for the firts half of 2020, while revenues shrank 17% to £1.21bn.

The drop was driven by a signifcant fall in demand for advertising during the coronavirus pandemic. ITV saw revenue from ads drop 21% to £671 million in the first half of the year.

The pandemic also put a pause on productions, meaning ITV Studios saw revenue fall by 17%.

CEO Carolyn McCall said it has been ”one of the most challenging times in the history of ITV”

”While our two main sources of revenue - production and advertising - were down significantly in the first half of the year and the outlook remains uncertain, today we are seeing an upward trajectory with productions restarting and advertisers returning to take advantage of our highly effective mass reach and addressable advertising platform, in a brand safe environment,” she added.

Disney turns to PVOD for Mulan

Disney has cancelled the theatrical release for Mulan, with the live action remake set to launch on Disney+ streaming platform as a premium release in September instead.

Mulan will hit Disney+ on September 4th in a new category of content described as “premium service” which will see US users charged $30 to watch the new film.

Mulan will still open in limited markets next month, specifically countries without Disney+ and where movie theaters are open for business.

The decision to release Mulan on Disney+ will be seen as a blow to the cinema industry, which had marked the remake as a key release as the industry looks to get moving again after the coronavirus lockdown.

Bob Chapek, Disney’s chief executive, has tried to downplay the move, telling investors it was a “one-off” and not a permanent strategic shift.

Littlewoods Studios bags £17m of funding

Liverpool-based studio development Littlewoods Studios has secured £17 million in funding from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s Strategic Investment Fund.

The £54 million regeneration project aims to transform the Littlewoods Building into a new home for the big and small screen productions. Twickenham Studios is due to become the complex’s first anchor tenant.

Liverpool is the most filmed UK city outside of London, with 1,750 film days recorded in 2019 involving 324 productions including Sky Atlantic’s Tin Star and Netflix UK’s The Irregulars.

NHK pauses 8K channel launch

Japanese broadcaster NHK has postponed plans to launch an all-8K broadcast channel, with plans set to be revealed after next year’s Olympic Games.

NHK has already revealed plans to merge its satellite-based BS1, BS Premium and BS4K channels into two channels, and then to integrate them into one single channel.

This followed criticism that the publicly funded broadcaster was running too many channels, stifling competition. The broadcaster announced a new three year plan last week, which included plans to slash spending on these channels from 720 billion Yen to 600 billion Yen (about $5.6 billion).