Unable to stay out of the headlines, British commercial television network ITV has polled what is thought to be its worst ever audience share.

Figures from BARB (Broadcasters' Audience Research Board) published over the weekend show the network pulled just 22.4% of viewers in July, falling from 24% the previous month and 27.1% in July 2001. ITV blamed strong competition from Channel 4’s reality-TV marathon Big Brother and the BBC’s coverage of the Commonwealth Games.

The adverse data links to reports that the advertising upturn at the network is running out of steam, with ad revenues set to rise only 1.3% year-on-year next month despite last year’s disruption following September 11 [WAMN: 26-Jul-02].

Meantime, the fallout from the collapse of ITV Digital continues, with Granada chief executive Steve Morrison – once tipped to head a merged Granada and Carlton – opting to take early retirement. Pressure is also said to be mounting on the firm’s chairman Charles Allen.

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