London-headquartered media group Carlton Communications yesterday reported first-half advertising revenues down 6.3% on the same period last year.

Although opining that the fall was cyclical, Carlton was unable to predict when adspend levels might recover. Said a spoke: “Weaker demand for advertising has persisted into our third quarter [to June], particularly from the internet, consumer goods and telecommunications sectors.”

Excluding digital investment and revenues from film processing unit Technicolor – which the group sold last year – pre-tax profit fell from £97 million to £65.8m ($94m) in the six months to March 31.

ONdigital, the terrestrial digital TV platform Carlton shares with Granada Media, and which will be rebranded later this year as ITV Digital, is expected to achieve 1.7 million subscribers and move into the black by early 2004.

Before this happy event, however, it will require a further cash injection of some £200m over the next three years.

News source: BBC Online Business News (UK)