Granada Media and Carlton Communications, respectively Britain's largest and second-largest TV groups who together control the ITV network, are widely predicted to post increased losses later this week.

The former is expected to report a first half loss of £112 million ($162.97m; €177.29m) against £75m for the same period a year ago; Carlton a deficit of £110m compared with £26m last time. The pair’s fingers will be pointed at ITV Digital as the main source of their losses – both accordingly poorer by £115m during the six months to March 2002.

The advertising downturn will also be blamed for the companies’ performance but it remains to be seen whether they also attribute the slump to sub-standard programming.

There could be a silver lining: the outlook has brightened considerably with the advent of the World Cup soccer tournament and recent forward projections for the UK TV industry as whole predict adspend up 10% for May and 6% in June.

At 08.45 Monday morning Carlton shares had risen £0.025 to £2.655 and Granada was up £0.075 to £1.3275.

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