Grade insists ITV turnaround plan on track

ITV claims that it will outperform the commercial TV advertising market despite forecasting flat net advertising revenue for the first half of the year. Michael Grade (pictured), ITV chief executive, insists that the group’s turnaround plan remains on track.

Grade, speaking ahead of the broadcaster’s annual general meeting today (May 15), says: “The forecast for the first half shows us outperforming the UK television advertising market – the first time this has happened since 2000.”

ITV says that revenues for the first quarter of 2008 increased by 3% to £492m, compared with £479m during the same period last year. Net advertising revenue was up 2% in the first quarter.

It flagship terrestrial channel ITV1 has increased its volume of commercial impacts year-on-year with total impacts across all ITV channels up 7%, while online growth continues, with video views up 76% since the start of the year.

He adds: “Given the wider economic context, the television advertising market has held up relatively well in the year to date. In an uncertain economic environment, ITV continues to deliver advertisers real value and unique effectiveness across ITV1 and its digital channels.”

The statement comes a day after Ofcom’s Office of the Adjudicator delivered its annual report ( May 14). The Institute of Practioners in Advertising and Incorporated Society of British Advertisers reiterated the need for the contracts rights renewal mechanism, because of the broadcaster’s continued dominance.

The statement also comes a fortnight after board member Dawn Airey, managing director of global content, quit to join rival RTL-owned Five as chief executive and chairman.

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