ITV braced for a lean Christmas…

Christmas 1995 promises to be a lean season for TV sales operations, with latest estimates suggesting the ITV market could end the year three per cent down on December 1994.

Although business has picked up since the beginning of this month – November revenue is expected to be 145m – December estimates remain sketchy, with many advertisers apparently holding fire until after next week’s Budget.

“We’re estimating December will come in at about 120m: between 2.8 per cent and 2.9 per cent down on last year,” says Laser operations director Ian McCulloch. “The period immediately after Christmas looks weak but between now and then record companies and retailers are active.”

Steve Platt, sales director at Carlton UK Sales, adds: “It’s pretty flat, with some categories – notably confectionery – down.”

The long hot summer dented chocolate sales and has had a knock-on effect, with budgets down for Christmas.

Retail looks buoyant – in London at least, McCulloch adds. This is despite Tesco’s decision to drop TV advertising over Christmas in favour of a 4m direct mail campaign targeting its 7 million loyalty cardholders.

However, there are some bright spots, according to Westcountry commercial director Caroline McDevitt: telecoms, newspapers and music advertising is up.

YTTV is benefiting from increased spend by Yorkshire Water due to its emergency supply restrictions. And nine spirits brands are testing regional ITV campaigns in in the North and North-west.

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