Carlton Communications, with Granada Media the controlling shareholder in Britain's largest commercial broadcaster ITV, flagged a modest recovery from the advertising drought with its forecast of a 2% revenue increase in its fiscal first quarter (October-December).

But chairman Michael Green is not counting his chickens until they are delivered to KFC: “We expect the market to be challenging in the months ahead,” he said.

Chief executive Gerry Murphy dutifully echoed his boss: “We take some comfort from the fact that advertising in the US is pretty strong at the moment; but we are not calling the advertising turn just yet.”

Carlton’s full year results to September 30 bolster this cautious optimism. Pretax losses were down from £409.2m last year to £156.2m ($242.02m; €244.13m) and include a £187.5m charge related to the collapse of its ITV Digital joint venture with Granada.

EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax depreciation and amortization), however, held firm at £65.3m (£65.8m) aided by cost reductions totalling £54.2m.

Following the posting, analysts upgraded next year's pre-tax profit forecasts from £50m to £55m.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff