UK commercial broadcaster ITV has confirmed soaring profits in its first complete year as a combined company.

An increase in advertising revenue of 4.7 percent has spearheaded a 57 percent rise in profits - surpassing City predictions. The company was created by 2004's amalgamation of Granada and Carlton.

Dominating over half of the UK's television ad market, ITV recorded pre-tax profits of £340 million ($653m; €489.9m).
Company ceo Charles Allen cooed: "ITV has had an outstanding first year."

Due in part to this year's early Easter holiday season, ad revenue for the current quarter from its ITV1, ITV2, ITV3 and ITV News channels has increased 12 percent.

The success of the digital channels of ITV2 and ITV3 is a major factor in ITV's results as a whole, and has lessened the effect of a recent 10 percent decline in viewing figures on ITV1, its free-to-air flagship channel [WAMN: 07-Mar-05].

ITV's performance has also been enhanced through prudent cost-cutting, and the broadcaster's ownership of six of the UK's favourite programmes, including the stalwart soaps Coronation Street and Emmerdale Farm.

Allen continued his backslapping saying: "We have just completed our first year as a single, unified company and during that period we have streamlined and improved our operations and delivered cost savings ahead of expectations in both speed and amount."

Data sourced from BBC Online; additional content by WARC staff