Magazine article Marketing

ITV Digital Can't Rule out a Bleak Scenario in Unpredictable Times

Magazine article Marketing

ITV Digital Can't Rule out a Bleak Scenario in Unpredictable Times

Article excerpt

There is really only one topic of conversation in the media at the moment. You can try really hard to concentrate for at least a moment or two on 'normal' issues such as digital switchover, whether the BBC should be regulated by Ofcom or not, or the future of broad-band, but it's very difficult.

There is still only one news story, and in business terms only one question: how much worse is it really going to get?

The answer for commercial television seems to be very bad indeed and now Channel 4 and Channel 5 are clearly hurting too alongside ITV.

September is down around 16% for television as a whole with ITV down 20%, Channel 4 down by more than 15% and Channel 5 down 10%.

Whatever happened to the upswing that was predicted for July? December may not be the greatest month for TV advertising, but some of the percentages coming through are still alarming.

Internal industry documents show that at the moment - and it could yet get worse - there could be a fall year-on-year of 30%, with ITV down 33%, Channel 4 down 29%, despite its fancy demographics, and Channel 5 down 24%.

It all adds up to an unprecedented minus number for the year of at least 12%, with little sign of any early let-up in 2002.

Optimists point to history and say the fall has been so severe that the upswing will be equally dramatic when it comes. But it is difficult to find anyone prepared to ever hazard a guess about when that upswing will come. The best you will get are occasional mutterings about "late 2002", said with little conviction. …

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