British TV Ad Slump: 'You Ain't Heard Nuthin' Yet', Warns Billetts

05 November 2008

LONDON: Eighty-one years ago Al Jolson consigned silent movies to the trash-can with his now immortal phrase: "You ain't heard nuthin' yet". Hopefully a similar warning, iterated this week by Billetts Media Monitoring, will not have the same effect on British commercial television.

The media seer, a unit of  marketing analysis firm Ebiquity,  expects "an awful fourth quarter" predicting that TV companies' revenues will wave goodbye to 2008 with annual revenues down year-on-year by 5%. Grim enough – but there's worse to come next year when overall TV ad income will plunge by a further 6%

Billetts, whose clientele numbers more than two hundred major  UK-based advertisers, estimates that, Channel 4's ad  revenues could decline by 6% in 2009; Channel 5 by a similar figure; and the dominant commercial broadcaster ITV.

NewsCorp's satellite monopoly BSkyB will experience the largest fall of all, 9%, although this will be softened to some extent by subscription income which is still rising, albeit at a declining rate.

Woe and thrice woe it may be for the broadcasters – but clientside marketers and agencies are likely to enjoy bargain basement ad rates through 2009.

According to a recent Daily Telegraph report: "Television looks set to offer advertisers excellent opportunities in 2009 as the cost of advertising falls to its lowest level since 1992."

And how's it looking for 2010? Over to you Al ...

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff