TV media spend to ‘plateau’ in 96

The end-of-year slowdown in advertisers’ TV spend is likely to continue through the first quarter of 1996.

Agencies forecast that ITV will increase ad revenue by two per cent compared with last year, across the first quarter of 1996, with January and February coming in flat and March increasing slightly. ITV’s forecast revenue compares with an increase of 12.5 per cent in the first quarter of 1995.

All commercial TV saw a slowing down in media spend for the final quarter of 1995. Agencies were divided on whether the slowdown indicated advertisers redirecting budgets to support profits following a slow sales year, or the effects of high ITV inflation in the first half.

“The market feels flatter to ITV than it really is,” says David Cuff, broadcast director of Initiative Media. “It will have to get used to it as it won’t be seeing many months of big revenue inflation this year.”

Channel 4, GMTV and satellite channels are forecast to see year on year growth of 14 per cent, 6.5 per cent and 17 per cent respectively.

“A lot of agencies were disappointed with ITV’s audiences and service last year,” says one TV buyer. “Now the market sees money following the audiences and good service.”

Some TV buyers believe the first quarter slow-down is down to advertisers keeping money in reserve for the third and fourth quarters, when the European Football Champ ionships will increase audiences.

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