ITV has credited the growth of its production division and greater availability of its on-demand and catch-up service for a better than expected rise in profits.
The UK’s biggest commercial broadcaster has been rolling out its ITV Player service to additional platforms while growing internationally through the acquisition of studios such as DiGa Vision, producers of MTV’s hit Teen Wolf.
By building up a studio arm, the firm hopes to reduce its reliance on advertising revenue. It has also launched ITV Encore, a pay channel for which it receives subscription revenue from Sky.
Pre-tax profits rose 39% to £605m for the year to 31 December, more than expected by many analysts, while revenue rose 8% to £2.59bn.
Shareholders are to receive a special dividend worth 6.25p a share in addition to a full-year dividend of 4.7p.
Adam Crozier, ITV Chief Executive, said: “ITV delivered another strong performance in 2014 as we continue to rebalance the business, drive new revenue streams and invest in our future growth.
“All parts of the business are progressing well with Group external revenue up 8% to £2.6 billion, and for the fifth year in a row we achieved double digit profit growth, up 18% to £730 million.
“Across ITV we maintained our emphasis on cash generation, cost control and improving margins as we continued to strengthen ITV creatively, commercially and financially.”