Analysts at Merrill Lynch London, hunched over their crystal balls, have issued gloomy prognostications for Britain’s largest commercial broadcaster, the ITV network.

They warn that further cutbacks in adspend will result in a 12.3% drop in ITV revenues during the twelve months to September 30 – having previously predicted a slippage of 10.5%.

The entrail-rakers also forecast that ad revenues will rise by only one per cent in the twelve months commencing September 30, compared with their previous guess of 4%. This, they say, will result in a £32m revenue shortfall at Carlton Communications, upping predicted losses for 2002 from £92 million to £120 million.

Over the same period, co-ruler of the ITV roost, Granada Media, would lose £40 million in ad income, halving 2002 pre-tax profits from £65m to £32.5m.

Following Merrill’s musings. Granada stock slipped by 1.5p to 141.5p – against its twelve-month high of 270p. Carlton shares decreased 3p to 307p, compare with a high 823.5p.

[One bemused adman of WAMN’s acquaintance, a self-confessed Candide, notes that that the unsolicited predictions of these fiscal seers trigger much buying and selling on the stock markets. As shares constantly soar or slide, who, he wonders, profits from all this unceasing activity?]

News source: The Times (London)