ITV, Britain's biggest free-to-air commercial broadcaster, reported a better than expected 13 percent rise in adjusted earnings for the year, driven by growth in its own productions against a flat backdrop for advertising.

The company, home to period drama Downton Abbey, soap-opera Emmerdale and ice-skating show Dancing on Ice, reported adjusted earnings before interest, tax and amortisation of 462 million pounds on external revenue up 4 percent to 2.14 billion pounds.

Chief Executive Adam Crozier said the group was on course to reduce its dependency on advertising revenue, where the market outlook remains poor.

The increase in non-advertising revenues of 93 million pounds, driven by our studios and online businesses, is clear evidence of progress in rebalancing the company and our ability to grow new revenue streams, he said on Wednesday.

ITV said it had a better than expected start to the year in terms of advertising across its channels, but it expected advertising revenue for the first quarter to be 2 percent lower than a year ago and broadly flat for April.

While we remain cautious on the outlook for advertising, we expect to outperform the market over the full year, it said.

Shares in ITV had a strong run into the results, rising 18 percent since the start of the year to close at 80.5 pence on Tuesday, valuing the group at 3.13 billion pounds.

Analysts were expecting the group to report adjusted earnings before interest tax and amortisation of 434 million pounds, according to a Reuters poll.

(Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by Rhys Jones)