LONDON: The UK's biggest commercial broadcaster ITV is bracing itself for a bumpy ride in 2007 following this summer's poor performance from its flagship ITV1 channel.

The Times newspaper, part of the News Corporation stable which also owns ITV rival BSkyB, claims the channel will lose around £90 million ($169.9m; €133m) in ad revenues next year after a dramatic slide in audience ratings, expected to be around nine per cent for the year.

The channel's ad revenues are linked for better or worse to the controversial Contracts Rights Renewal mechanism which prevents ITV from raising commercials airtime prices to make up for falling viewer numbers.

CRR was the price paid by ITV for its creation resulting from a merger between the Carlton and Granada TV franchises in January 2004. The formula was intended as a curb on the new giant's dominance of the TV ad market.

ITV is expected to claw back about £25m of ad sales through its new digital channels, while around £40m is forecast to move to the Channel 4 family of channels next year.

Data sourced from The Times Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff