ITV, Britain's dominant commercial TV network, continues to lose audience share across its ITV1 channel, according to BARB (Broadcasters' Audience Research Board). Currently ITV1 accounts for 22.9% of UK TV viewing but commands 51% of all TV ad revenues.

The channel's cumulative loss of impacts is spread across most of its key trading audiences, the young and upmarket segments in particular.

Critics argue that this is a direct result of ITV's peak-time programming policies, which are increasingly dependent on formulaic makeovers and so-called 'reality' shows.

Media agencies predict that the trend, unless reversed, could trim up to 3.5% from ITV1's current year advertising revenues -- equating in hard cash to £100 million ($183.67m; €149.84m).

These estimates are based on the Contract Rights Renewal mechanism, imposed on ITV by Ofcom as a pre-condition of its merger on January 1. The CRR allows agencies and advertisers to reduce their committed adspend in proportion to the broadcaster's shrinkage in commercial impacts.

But Graham Duff, managing director of ITV Sales, professes optimism. "Overall, we're pretty confident about what we've got coming up. The year will improve from where it is currently," he assures.

His confidence is based on such upcoming treats as the Euro 2004 soccer tournament and yet another series of the 'reality' format, I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!

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