War Will Not Dent Ad Income, Claims Britain’s ITV

25 March 2003

British commercial television network ITV is confident the war in Iraq will not dent its ad revenues.

Mick Desmond, joint managing director of the network and ceo of its leading shareholder Granada Media, refuted suggestions that ITV – like its stateside counterparts – would suffer as advertisers pulled campaigns.

Desmond admitted that there have already been “a couple of deferments” from travel firms, while a new British Airways campaign has been postponed. But he insisted there would be little overall impact on revenues.

“Unlike the last Gulf War, where the element of surprise took media owners by surprise, this war has been widely telegraphed and we have been very proactive in how we handle it,” he declared. “We will not lose money from this trading year.”

Losing cash as advertisers withdraw commercials is not the only worry facing broadcasters. Television stations risk reducing advertising income further by ditching ad breaks altogether during coverage of the war on news programmes.

However, Desmond added that broadcast watchdogs will allow ITV to make up for any ad time lost to uninterrupted coverage. “Owing to the special dispensation we get from the regulator, those minutes that we lose from the news will be redeemed elsewhere. If it is not clawed back then we can roll it on until after the end of the war. We expect to lose very little money.”

Data sourced from: MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff