ITV insiders have issued a warning that the network’s advertising performance in July will fall well below its own forecasts and analysts’ expectations.

The entrail-rakers had predicted revenues for that month only 15% down year-on-year indicating, some said, a stabilisation of ad sales; but sources within ITV now say that 20%-25% is nearer to reality.

Granada Media, the largest shareholder in ITV, is expected to issue a statement on Wednesday (when it unveils its half-year results) that there is as yet no light at the end of the TV advertising tunnel.

The broadcaster had earlier predicted a return to growth in the year’s fourth quarter, the basis for this assumption being that advertising sales in the second half of 2000 – when revenues started to decline from their record peak – would be easier to match. The gloomy prognosis for July now casts doubt on this assumption.

A weakening in ITV's viewing figures, currently under intensified pressure with the failure of Survivor to command even half its expected 10m-12m audience, would further erode the value of advertising on its network.

News source: Financial Times