LONDON: ITV, the UK's largest commercial broadcaster, posted a loss of £2.73bn ($3.8bn; €3.1bn) last year, largely as a result of two substantial writedowns, and predicts its ad revenues will decline 17% in Q1 this year after falling 4% in 2008.
WARC predicts that the UK television advertising will decline by around 2% this year, with terrestrial channels – such as ITV's flagship ITV1 – likely to be the worst hit.
The company reported its net advertising revenues fell to £1.43bn last year, but also argued this meant it was ahead of the broader UK television market, which saw a decline in adspend of 5%.
It also predicted that total TV adspend would fall by around 20% in April, confirming earlier, and equally dire, forecasts for the medium.
Overall, ITV's stable of channels held their level of viewing and advertising share –23.2% and 43.8% respectively – and online revenues rose by 9% to £36m, with 6.5 million unique users visiting ITV.com each month.
However, its total revenues fell 3% to £2.03bn, though global content sales rose by 10% to £622m, and external revenues were up 25% to £306m.
In all, the company recorded an operating profit of £211m, with pre-tax profits reaching £167m, down on £281m in 2007.
Among the cost-saving measures ITV has now announced, aiming to save £245m by 2011, are 600 job cuts and a reduction in the programming budget.
Michael Grade, the company's executive chairman, scrapped the pre-existing revenue targets, and argued the current conditions in the advertising market were "the most challenging I have experienced in over 30 years in UK broadcasting."
Data sourced from ITV/Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff