Too Little UK Sport, Too Much Iraq War Sparks ITV Ad Slump

08 May 2003

The received wisdom among Britain's media pundits was that June 2003 was never going to look good on ITV’s advertising books.

Even allowing for the marginal improvement in the nation’s general ad outlook, opined the pundits, June 2003 revenues would have to stand comparison with last June’s soccer World Cup bonanza; and the media industry’s crystal ball forecast a 10% year-on-year shortfall.

That was optimistic!

According to a report in Thursday’s The Guardian, agency media buyers now predict a 19.4% fall in June ITV ad income to just £115 million ($183.53m; €162.09m).

Slipping effortlessly into pundit mode, Starcom Motiv’s executive buying director Andy Roberts postulated: “The war is still having an effect. TV advertising is not planned short term. When people were about to agree June spend, it would have been during the war.”

ITV is not the only victim of the sport/war ad drought – Channel 4's June revenues are predicted to slide 12.5% to £46m, although Five is expected to fare better at just 4.2% down to £18.4m. Only minority broadcaster S4C is expected to improve upon June 2002 with revenues reaching £750,000 – a 4.4% increase.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff