In a bid to compensate for sliding audience revenues, ITV plans an energetic approach to deliver £150 million ($272.3m; €225.4m) in multichannel revenue over the next three years.

The ceo of the UK's largest commercial TV network, Charles Allen, yesterday revealed ITV's intentions to up investment in multichannel programming by £36m (doubling ITV2's budget) and disclosed plans for an autumn launch of new channel ITV3, targeting a more mature TV audience.

The over-35s target audience of ITV3 represents an important yet under-served market, according to ITV; and one that provides "significant commercial opportunity as it controls over 80% of the nation's wealth".

Increased investment should enable ITV to boost its ITV2 appeal with US series and films, and selected sports rights.

Making up for a fall in audience share (down year-on-year from 42.7% to 41.8% at the end of May 2004) is a rise in total net advertising revenue for the broadcaster.

The first half of 2004 saw revenues 4.9% higher than the same period of 2003. And future prospects also look good: estimates for June-August 2004 suggest an increase of 5.5%.

Allen is confident that the recent merger of Carlton and Granada was a good move, enabling the ITV to "attract and retain the best talent in the industry" as well as be on target for £100m cost savings.

Data sourced from: BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff