media_new_itv_logoProfits up despite a drop in viewing share. That’s the summary from ITV’s pre-tax statement posted this morning.

The broadcaster, responsible for favourites including northern soaps Emmerdale and Coronation Street as well as the blockbuster Downton Abbey, saw pre-tax profits increase by 23% last year.

However, he group’s share of viewing fell 5% in 2014, compared with a 4% rise in 2013, due, ITV said, to a weaker performance from its main ITV1 channel.

It said it would increase investment in the programme schedule to reverse this trend.

ITV Chief Executive, Adam Crozier, said in a statement: “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.

“Non advertising revenue rose 10% to £1.3 billion, driven by a 30% increase in Online, Pay & Interactive, and by our continuing investment in quality content and creative talent in ITV Studios globally. “

The full statement for the preliminary results are here.