US credit ratings specialist Moody’s Investors Services on Friday slashed its long-term rating for Carlton Communications – one of ITV’s controlling duo.

The decision to downgrade from level Baa3 to Baa2, said Moody’s, was triggered by the negative impact on the broadcaster’s core cash flows and the continued weakness in the TV advertising market. The outlook remained negative, it added.

When Carlton released its interim results just over four weeks ago, [WAMN: 29-May-02], its stock price stood at £2.6325 ($4.03; €4.06). After news of Moody’s downgrade hit the markets on Friday afternoon, shares were languishing at £2.14. By 08.30 BST Monday they had slipped slightly further to £2.125.

Nor did the latest BARB (Broadcasters' Audience Research Board) data bode well for the beleaguered broadcaster.

According to the latest Trends in Television survey published by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, ITV’s audience share has continued to slump – although some in media and advertising circles have challenged the accuracy of the data in view of the ongoing shortfall in the number of BARB panellists since it switched to a new measurement system on January 1 [WAMN: 15-Mar-02].

But the latest BARB numbers indicate that the share of all UK channels by ITV (as a total entity) has fallen to 39.9%, down year-on-year from 46.6%; while its share of the commercial audience fell to 25.1% from 28.9% last time.

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