Talksport owner reports ad slump

Talksport owner UTV has reported a 15% slump in ad revenues at its UK radio division for the four months to April.

The group, which also owns the ITV franchise and radio stations in Northern Ireland, says its revenues overall fell by 14% compared to the same period last year.

UTV owns more than 20 radio stations in the UK including mass market sport station TalkSport.

Despite the drop the group says its GB Radio division outperformed the general radio advertising market which it says fell by 18% over the period.

It says it expects its ad revenues to be down 20% in its half year results, despite reporting the market looks “somewhat improved” for May and June. It is predicting a smaller decline of 9% for those two months.

UTV says that overall trading in the first four months of the year was in line with expectations and that it had hit its budgeted operating profit.

“We remain cautious about trading prospects for the year but our cost-cutting measures are having a positive impact and we are currently in line with the board’s expectations,” the company says in its interim management statement.

Talksport saw a drop in 4.5% year-on-year drop in listeners to register 684,000 according to the latest Rajar figures for the first three months of 2009.

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