ITV shares slide after Piers Morgan quits flagship morning show

LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 10: Piers Morgan considered leaving his West London house to steal his daughter Elise to college

Portray by MWE/GC Photography

ITV shares slid 5% Wednesday following the resignation of excessive-profile presenter Piers Morgan over comments he made about Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, and her bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey.

The British broadcaster confirmed Morgan’s departure in an announcement on Tuesday, hours after he stormed off the role of the “Interesting Morning Britain” picture, which has been drawing checklist market half this month, following criticism of his remarks.

Tuesday’s picture drew bigger than 41,000 complaints to the U.K.’s tv regulator Ofcom, which has since confirmed that it is investigating the comments. Morgan accused Meghan of mendacity about having suicidal depression and being denied serve at some stage in her time as a member of the royal family.

ITV furthermore on Tuesday reported a 33.5% fall in running revenue for 2020 and a pointy tumble in ad revenues, with analysts noting considerations that an accelerated shift to streaming products and services was once making lifestyles complicated for broadcasters reliant on weak tv selling.

Roddy Davidson, media analyst at Shore Capital who covers the stock, urged CNBC Wednesday that Morgan’s departure may presumably presumably be taking half in a half within the persevered decline for the company’s shares, but suggested Tuesday’s earnings were silent the principle driver of half mark dash, alongside with skill revenue-taking by investors after a resounding closing six months of the 365 days.

“Interesting Morning Britain is a vital half of the daylight time desk, and Piers Morgan is a runt of a marmite persona, but he is relatively watchable for that, whether or no longer you compromise or disagree with him,” Davidson acknowledged.

“I thought the disappointing aspect of the day past’s outcomes was once the indisputable reality that they did now not pay a closing dividend. The debt has substantially diminished, the company is in sturdy form financially, it is money generative, and the comments were undoubtedly more certain nearly about the selling revenue line bouncing support as Covid restrictions are lifted.”

Davidson acknowledged the inability of a dividend price was once a “overlooked different” to reward shareholders after a turbulent 12 months, through which the cancellation of important displays comparable to “Love Island” and the acceleration of viewers transitioning to streaming products and services weighed on ITV’s viewership.

Russ Mildew, investment director at stockbroking platform AJ Bell, furthermore celebrated that while the Morgan controversy may presumably presumably also simply beget an instantaneous affect, investors may presumably presumably also simply silent remain centered on the fundamentals.

“I’m obvious that that program is a astronomical selling spinner for them, because it be extremely successfully-watched. He undoubtedly seems to be to had been vital to that program’s success and this may be interesting to witness the procedure it continues without him,” Mildew urged CNBC on Wednesday.

On the different hand, he suggested that the company’s stiff opponents within the streaming market and tricky ad ambiance, alongside with takeover hypothesis, would remain the foremost drivers of half mark job.

“Whenever you are bullish on the stock, you are making an are attempting for an financial upturn, you are making an are attempting for an selling upturn, and likewise you are making an are attempting for any individual presumably to steal it for its very rich reveal library,” he acknowledged.

“The undergo circumstances are a tricky financial ambiance, stacks of opponents and a model that’s potentially being severely challenged over time.”