ITV to buy UTV’s TV assets for £100m
ITV posted a sharp increase in revenue and profit in 2015Reuters

ITV posted a sharp increase in revenue in 2015, boosted by growth across all of its divisions and by a sixth consecutive year of double-digit profit growth, which the broadcaster expects to continue in 2016.

In the 12 months to 31 December, the FTSE 100 group said total external revenue grew 15% year-on-year to £2.97bn ($4.15bn, €3.81bn), driven higher by a 23% increase in the online, pay and interactive division, while revenue from advertising rose 6% year-on-year to £1.72bn and total ITV Studios revenue surged 33% to £1.24bn.

Adjusted earnings before interest, tax and amortisation stood at £865m, 18% higher year-on-year, largely thanks to a 16% increase in earnings from the group's broadcast and online division, while earnings from the group's studio arm jumped 27% from the corresponding period in 2014.

ITV said both divisions are expected to deliver double-digit profit growth in 2016, with revenue in the ITV Studios business forecast to post a double digit increase as well, thanks to the recent acquisitions of Talpa Media, Twofour Group and Mammoth Screen.

"We'll continue to build scale and to capitalise on the strong demand for high-quality content that travels, with a particular focus on investing in creative talent and scripted projects, and working with more channels and platforms in the UK and internationally," said group chief executive Adam Crozier.

The London-listed company, which broadcast the Rugby World Cup in 2015 and has subsequently won the rights to show a number of Six Nations games, which were previously all shown on BBC, has proposed a 10p special dividend, equivalent to £400m and a final dividend of 4.1p, giving a full-year dividend of 6p per share, ahead of its previous guidance.

For 2016, ITV anticipates that the phasing of its television advertising will be different from 2015 due to the timing of major sporting events, indicating net advertising revenue is expected to be flat in the first quarter and marginally behind the market, against 12% growth in the corresponding period last year.

However, the second quarter, which will benefit from the UEFA European Championships, should be positive and the company said it expects to outperform its estimate of the TV ad market for the full year.