LONDON: Beleaguered UK commercial broadcaster ITV has been dealt another blow with the announcement by confectionery giant Cadbury Schweppes's that it is to end its £10 million ($18.8m; €14.7m) annual sponsorship of the flagship Coronation Street daily soap opera.

The chocolate maker's deal - first inked in 1996 - closes at the end of next year. ITV is searching for a replacement at the same time as it faces a potential takeover bid from cable provider NTL [WARC News: 10-Nov-06].

Cadbury says it has taken the decision following a refocusing of its marketing strategy. A spokesman adds: "Ten years is an awful long time for a sponsorship deal. Right now, we felt it didn't meet the needs of our marketing strategy."

Data sourced from BBC Online; additional content by WARC staff