LONDON: ITV executive chairman Michael Grade has delivered glad Yule tidings to the wise men of Wall Street and London EC2, announcing that ad revenues are likely to increase by 3.5% in the second half of 2007.

In a trading update, Grade declared the company, and most significantly its flagship ITV1 channel, had made "measurable progress" this year.

Claims Grade: "On-screen ITV1's performance has been much improved; we have assembled a formidable senior management team; and we've seen real growth in the whole television advertising market over the second half of the year."

Total ad revenues are expected to be down 0.6% in 2007, including December. Net ad revenue at ITV1 is in line to fall 4.4%, but a 32% rise to £209 million ($424m; €291.6m) in digital channel revenues should go a long way toward making up the deficit.

The numbers are a significant improvement on 2006 which saw overall revenues slide 8.4% and ITV1 plummet by 12.4%.

Comments Richard Oliver, head of investment at Universal McCann: "ITV is in a more confident and bullish mood than in any other year since 2004."

Grade added: "Our focus for 2008 is on implementing the turnaround plan set out in September and maintaining the positive momentum in ITV1's viewing performance."

Data sourced from Brand Republic (UK) and Telegraph.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff