MILAN: Ad sales at Mediaset, Italy's largest privately-owned broadcaster, are likely to show an annual decline due to volatile economic conditions.

According to new January-September 2011 figures from the firm, Mediaset's ad revenues for its free-to-air network were down by around 3% year on year.

The firm also predicts a 3% decline for 2011 as a whole.

Results for the first six months of the year had shown a drop of 2.1% when compared with the same period in 2010.

The firm contrasted its ad revenue decline with that of the general Italian TV market, citing Nielsen figures which indicated a 6% year-on-year ad revenue drop across the industry between January and August 2011.

Mediaset also pointed to present economic volatility – with investors' concern over Italy's ability to service its public debts sending government bond yields soaring over recent weeks – as having the potential to depress adspend in the future.

"Italy and Spain continue to be among the most exposed economic areas and there is therefore little prospect of a significant change in the trend in the advertising market compared with the first nine months," it said in a statement.

Latest Warc data, contained in the new International Ad Forecast, indicate that the Italian TV sector may suffer a decline in adspend of -5.7% across 2011 as a whole.

Across all media, adspend was predicted to drop by -5% from 2010's total.

Data sourced from Il Sole 24 Ore/Wall Street Journal/Reuters; additional content by Warc staff