German television giant ProSiebenSat.1 believes the TV ad market reached its nadir after the war in Iraq eroded its earnings.

The nation’s leading television broadcaster swung to a first-quarter net loss of €32.8 million ($37.7m; £23.4m), down from €5.7m profits in Q1 2002. Revenues tumbled 15.9% to €411.3m, though half of this fall was offset by cost cuts. EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) slipped from a €43.4m profit to a shortfall of €4m.

“The first quarter of 2003 was dominated by a dramatic slump in the television advertising market, which was most severe in March, at the outbreak of the war in Iraq,” declared ceo Urs Rohner.

The group believes the ad market “very likely bottomed out” in March, and is tentatively predicting a recovery later in 2003.

“In April, demand for television advertising was back up significantly,” continued Rohner. “But we believe any real improvement in the TV advertising market is unlikely until the second half of the year, at the very earliest.”

Data sourced from: ProSiebenSat.1; additional content by WARC staff