StockMarketWire.com - ITV reported Wednesday a rise in pre-tax profit as growth in online offset a decline in spot advertising revenues.

The broadcaster did, however, warn economic and political headwinds for the UK will have an effect on the advertising market.

For the 12 months ended 31 December, pre-tax profit rose 13% to £567 and total revenue rose 3% to £3.77bn.

Total advertising revenue was up 1% for the full year, with video on demand revenue up 36%, more than offsetting the decline in net advertising revenues. That was in line with guidance given in November for broadly flat advertising revenues over the full year.

The weakness in net advertising revenue was blamed on the impact of political and economic uncertainty, which kept a lid on corporations' spot advertising spend.

External revenue was up 3% to £3.21bn. Total non-advertising revenue grew 5% to £1.97bn and now accounted for 52% of total revenue, the company said. Broadcast & online total revenue was up 1% to £2,096m.

ITV Studios, which churned out hit shows such as The Voice, Bodyguard and Love Island, posted a 5% rise in revenue to £1.67bn for the year.

The company proposed a full-year dividend of 8.0p, up 3% on last year

Looking ahead, the company said first half revenues and profits would be impacted by tough comparatives against the revenues of the Football World Cup.

'ITV's operational performance across 2018 was strong despite the uncertain economic and political environment, with total external revenue up 3%, including total advertising revenues up 1%. We delivered great viewing figures on air and online with ITV setting a host of new records and achieving an impressive 3% growth in total viewing.,' said Carolyn McCall, ITV Chief Executive.

'We are in the concluding phase of talks with the BBC to establish a strategic partnership to bring BritBox, an exciting new SVOD service, to UK audiences. This will provide an unrivalled collection of British boxsets and original series in one place. We have agreed a joint vision for the service and are now working on a formal agreement. We anticipate that other partners will be added to BritBox and we will both speak to regulators and the wider industry about our proposals.'

'We have started 2019 with strong onscreen and online viewing. However, the economic and political headwinds for the UK will have an effect on the advertising market and while ITV is increasingly diversified, we remain sensitive to this.' Story provided by StockMarketWire.com