ITV advertising revenues are set to plummet by up to nine per cent in January and February compared with the same period last year.
The dip – a disappointment for ITV owners Granada Media and Carlton and a worrying indicator for the whole ad industry – comes after a record year when revenues were bolstered by spending on advertising for dot-coms and the Millennium Dome.
Delays in striking ad deals caused by Granada’s merger with United News & Media last year have also hurt ITV.
January revenues will hit £140m this year, compared with £155.7m in 2000. TV buyers estimate February revenues will sink to £140m compared with £152m last year, though an ITV insider says it is “too early to tell”.
The ITV insider says the figures are disappointing, but should be viewed against a decline in the TV ad market of about five per cent.
The figures will fuel fears about a general downturn in advertising revenues this year, amid worries that the US will be gripped by recession in the first half of 2001. However, it is understood that advertisers are shifting their spend to Channel 4 and satellite channels following poor ITV viewing figures last year.
One TV buyer says: “I don’t think anyone anticipated such a steep fall-off this year.”
The downturn in the first two months comes after a strong Christmas, when ITV ad revenues rose by more than 11 per cent on the year.