ITV confirms Olympic TV ad slowdown

ITV has confirmed analysts’ estimates that advertising revenue is set to drop as much as 11% during the Olympic period as viewers flock to the BBC and non-sponsors hold off activity.

Olympic Stadium

The broadcaster expects ad revenue to be “broadly flat” for the nine months to September, with July down 10% year on year, August down 11% and September between flat and down 5%.

This estimate falls in broadly line with analyst Liberum Capital’s forecasts for the entire TV ad market, which it says will be down 10% in July. However, during the bulk of the Olympic events in August, it predicted the market to be down 5%, which makes ITV’s estimate, as Britain’s biggest commercial broadcaster, look severe in comparison.

ITV’s forecast for September will also be a concern to the broacaster. Ian Whittaker, head of media research ad Liberum Capital, told Marketing Week last month that September would be a “key month” for spend to return to the market as advertisers not associated with the Games come back to TV and viewing habits go back to normal.

The wider slowdown in the macro economic market may also be to blame for the drop off in ITV’s ad revenue and also that of the broader TV market.

For the first six months of this year, ITV posted a 3% rise in ad revenues year on year, boosted by its coverage of the Euro 2012 football tournament and popular family Saturday night shows such as Britain’s Got Talent.

The advertising lift drove a 15% increase in underlying profits to £235m in the period. Total external revenues rose 10% to £1.13bn. Non-advertising revenues, driven from content, pay and online, rose 26% to £514m.

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