News & Analysis

FTSE 100's reality TV show: A couch potato's dream

Andrew Saks, Thursday, 3 June 2021

Making a quiet display of disapproval followed by a raising of the eyebrow is an activity that is as British as an afternoon tea in the Cotswolds, and as British as the much maligned yet evergreen national television channels.

Britain's somewhat more sardonic approach to the reception of broadcast media differs tremendously from the flag-waving ultra-patriotic Bruce Springsteenesque way in which North American news and media distribution channels are viewed has led to a longstanding critique among many, and a steady set of ratings that can be attributed to those who complain but still watch!

BBC, with its gray cardigan image and government ownership is one example, but the second most watched television broadcaster in the United Kingdom, ITV is a publicly traded entity whose shares are available on the London Stock Exchange.

ITV is the latest company to prepare to head back into the elite set of British companies that form the FTSE 100 in this month's stock market reshuffle, which is an interesting movement indeed.

Perhaps members of the media-loving public will tut and shake their head as much as they do when watching a corny comedy or are glued to a mundane reality TV show knowing that there are better ways to spend time but simply cannot tear themselves away from the action - or lack of it - when ITV is readmitted to the FTSE 100 index very soon.

ITV, led by Dame Carolyn Fairburn, had its revenues hit over the past few months which has largely been attributed to a drop in advertising spending during the lockdown period which is perhaps an odd decision considering that it had more of a captive audience than ever however many advertisers had been affected by government lockdowns which had damaged their revenues so badly that they were not able to afford placements even if it would have put them in front of an increased number of Deliveroo-dependent television watchers.

Also, there had been delays to television production over the past year during which it had not been allowed to make certain programs, however marketing spending has rebounded.

Yesterday ITV shares struggled to stay above water though, dipping 0.5 per cent, or 0.65p, to 130.85p. Royal Mail rose 0.2 per cent, or 1.2p, to 595p and today they have plunged dramatically.

Usually, good news has a positive effect, but the potential re-inclusion in the FTSE 100 index has coincided with a drop for ITV shares.

Taking a long-term view, however, ITV stock is still at its highest point since February 2020, and its third highest point since mid-2019.

Once admitted to the FTSE 100, ITV stock will be on the radar of the proprietary trading houses and fund managers as they concentrate on FTSE 100 stocks in the United Kingdom.

The FTSE 100 index has been at a high level over the past month, however it's the oil giants that are keeping its overall value high despite the green energy rush and the constant barrage of greenwash by media companies - rather ironically - which would perhaps make anyone believe that oil is out of favor when it is absolutely not.

Indeed, the massive values are largely down to the rising price of Brent crude which means that oil as a commodity is in high demand as are the stocks of companies that produce it.

A decision by the OPEC nations has brought about more supply. As I said earlier this week, it looks like Goldman Sachs were right!

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