LONDON: ITV, the UK's largest commercial broadcaster, fears that advertising revenues on its premier channel ITV1 could fall by 15% this month and 12%-18% in January, according to figures reportedly circulated within the company earlier this week. 

The main cause of the slump is said to be the travails of high-street retailers, which are typically among the biggest advertisers on ITV1 over Christmas and the New Year.

While its digital channels are forecast to post growth year-on-year over the same period, ITV's total advertising income is set to fall by between 6% and 10% in the first month of 2009.

According the The Times, an unidentified "insider" at the company said: "People are just booking from week to week."

Retailers contributed some £132 million ($193m; €153m) of ITV's advertising revenues in the first half of 2008, up 17.7% year-on-year.

As ITV's figures are often taken to be broadly representative of the wider advertising market, it is now expected that national newspaper adspend will also drop by 15% at the start of next year.

Data sourced from The Times (UK); additional content by WARC staff