In a two-fingered response to doom-mongering analysts and media pundits, Carlton Communications and Granada Media – the dominant shareholders in British commercial television network ITV – have reported far stronger ad revenues for December than expected.

A surge of late bookings in the last fortnight worth around £20 million has pushed next month’s ITV ad revenues to £121m, 11.7% below last year’s total. Fellow free-to-air commercial broadcasters Channel 4 and Channel 5 are also thought to have benefited, though less so than ITV.

Despite the double-digit drop, the news confounds more pessimistic forecasts made recently [WAMN: 31-Oct-01]. Analysts had been expecting a decline of around 20%.

“I think advertisers have realised the absolute value TV represents as a medium, and December represents a crucial period for them,” beamed Mick Desmond, managing director of Granada Broadcasting and Enterprises.

“We have been criticised in the past for not being flexible enough, but unlike other stations we can take more late money. We are performing better than the overall market. We are still being cautious as it’s far too early to say if this is going to last.”

News source: Media Week (UK)