Britain's ITV Feels the Economic Chill as Profits Plummet 28%

07 August 2008

LONDON: ITV, Britain's largest commercial broadcaster, is "not immune to wider economic pressures," extenuates beleaguered executive chairman Michael Grade (pictured) as he announced a 28% decline in H1 adjusted pre-tax profit to £91 million ($177.74m; €114.9m).

ITV's real net loss after one-off charges, however, was £1.54 billion. This fiscal fiasco is largely attributed to a charge of £1.6bn triggered by a write-down of assets acquired in 2000 and 2004.

But, reminiscent of Monty Python's controversial 'Always Look on the Bright Side' crucifixion chorus in the movie The Life of Brian, Grade observed: "Despite some dire predictions UK television advertising held up relatively well over the first half of the year and through the summer."

Then a reality check. "However, on current estimates the television advertising market has weakened significantly in September, where trading is impacted by tough comparisons with the successful Rugby World Cup in 2007."

But all is not doom and gloom within the ITV bunker. The broadcaster's net advertising income actually rose by 1% over the first six months of the year, while its viewing share grew 2.5%.

Data sourced from BBC Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff