Michael Green, chairman of Carlton Communications, told Friday’s annual general meeting of the ITV broadcaster that the first quarter of 2003 promises well for the network as a whole.

According to Green, Carlton “started the year well” with ITV revenues set fair to rise by two per cent in the January-March period. In an upbeat assessment, Green clearly hoped to counter recent negative publicity about ITV’s declining share of the television advertising market [WAMN: 13-Feb-03].

He reassured shareholders: “Advertising revenues are expected to be up 2% year on year,” although he remained in cautionary mode. “Like other broadcasters and advertiser-supported businesses, we expect the market place to be challenging in the months ahead.”

Carlton’s focus, he said, is implementing its planned merger with Granada Media, a union that would “benefit viewers, advertisers and shareholders”. A robust ITV schedule, improved ratings and the proposed merger put Carlton in the best possible position to benefit as advertising demand starts to recover.

“A strong commercial public service broadcaster leading the industry will be good for British television,” opined Green, brushing aside the fact that advertisers and agencies alike oppose the merger of the two broadcasters’ sales organizations. “We will be urging our regulators to look at the wider competitive landscape when considering our proposals,” he said.

The apparent revival in advertising revenues boosted Carlton's share price 3% to £1.03 ($1.65; €1.54), as it did Granada whose stock rose 4.6% to £0. 6175.

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