Poor quarter leads to TV ads income gloom

TV buyers are revising downwards their TV advertising revenue estimates for the year, following “disappointing” figures for the first quarter of 2003 that suggest the market will be flat compared to the same period last year.

ITV in particular has suffered, with estimates that revenue will be down by three to four per cent for the first three months.

At the beginning of the year, TV buyers were estimating that the TV advertising market would grow by two to three per cent in 2003, and that ITV’s revenue would be down by two to three per cent.

MindShare broadcast buying director Andy Zonfrillo has revised his estimates for 2003. He forecasts that overall TV revenue will be unchanged this year, down from the two to three per cent rise he had previously been predicting. He also estimates that ITV’s revenue for 2003 will fall by four per cent. This equates to &£66m – the amount by which Carlton Communications and Granada have increased ITV’s programming budget this year. ITV’s share of total TV revenue is set to fall from 54 per cent for last year to 51 per cent by the end of 2003, adds Zonfrillo.

Carat broadcast director Mark Jarvis says: “The first quarter is clearly disappointing, especially since the TV market last summer was showing some signs of growth.”

Uncertainty over war, a slowdown in consumer spending and the continuing bear market have dented advertisers’ confidence. Figures for the first quarter have also been affected by Easter – a period when revenue floods into the market from retailers – falling in April, a month later than last year.

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