Granada Media, which together with Carlton Communications controls Britain’s ITV Network, saw its share price dive 7% to £1.06 on Wednesday amid fears that it will fare badly in the new BARB (Broadcasters' Audience Research Board) ratings data.

Analysts and investors are said to be concerned that the revamped TV audience measurement system will cast a new and unflattering light on ITV viewing levels with an adverse knock-on effect on advertising revenues. However, investor twitchiness calmed somewhat today with Granada stock recovering to £1.1025 (at 1145 GMT).

Meantime, the furore over the accuracy of the new BARB data was fanned Wednesday when the research body admitted that its updated system will not be fully operational until April at earliest - having been scheduled to be up and runing by January 1.

This is partially due, BARB claims, to the uncertainty of some panellists on how to operate the new system. The updated arrangement replaces the old 4,500-strong panel with a roster of 5,100 homes.

News sources: BrandRepublic (UK);