European broadcasting group RTL issued a profits warning Friday, blaming declining advertising revenues which are expected to average 10% below 2000 in the continent’s three major ad markets: the UK, France and Germany.

Said chief executive Didier Bellens: “Advertising markets across Europe have continued to deteriorate since our results announcement in September. Based on our forward bookings thus far, we expect that advertising in the first half of 2002 will show continued weakness."

Bellens was also vague about prospects beyond that period: “Visibility remains poor and it continues to be difficult to predict the outlook with any certainty.”

The sole crumb of comfort came from Britain's Channel 5, jointly owned by RTL and United Business Media. C5 achieved a marginal increase in its share of the advertising cake, upping this from 6.1% in 2000 to 6.2% this year – a feat RTL attributes to its airing of Aussie soap ‘Home and Away’, recently poached from the ITV Network.

News source: BBC Online Business News (UK)