ITV1 facing shortfall of up to £231m

Advertisers could reduce their spend on ITV1 next year by up to £231m if the channel’s poor performance continues for the rest of the year.

Forecasts from television buyers suggest that when taking ITV1’s performance as a whole and extrapolating it across the year, it could stand to lose the equivalent of 6.3 per cent of total television spend, equating to £231m for 2006. ITV has about 50 per cent of the £3.6bn TV advertising market.

TV buyers are describing ITV1’s performance for the year to date as “horrendous” and are predicting that if the channel continues in the same vein, advertisers could exercise their rights under the contracts rights renewal mechanism to switch spend away from the channel next year without being penalised.

ITV1 has seen its share of 16- to 34-year-old men for the year fall from 33.3 per cent in 2004 to 23.1 per cent for 2005, and its share of housewives has dropped from 46.5 per cent in 2004 to 41.8 per cent in 2005.

Starcom Motive executive buying director Andy Roberts says: “This is just a worse-case scenario. The current trend is unlikely to continue.”

Buyers say ITV will fight back with a major programming push for ITV1 and try to negotiate with advertisers to switch money into ITV2 and ITV3 instead, perhaps reducing the figure to less than £150m. It did the same last year when faced with a potential £100m fall in ITV1 revenue for 2005, reducing it to below £70m.

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