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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 June 2006, 12:55 GMT 13:55 UK
ITV ad earnings slide continues
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ITV said its regional stations had seen 18% advertising growth
Advertising revenue is falling at ITV, as viewers turn away from the broadcaster's flagship station in favour of digital channels.

The commercial outfit said it expected revenues at ITV1 to slip 4.6% to 750m in the first half of 2006.

Other ITV businesses made up some of the slippage, including a 42% increase in revenue at its digital channels, but not enough to offset ITV1's falls.

The firm also said it was upping its payment to shareholders by 200m.

The increased dividend payment to shareholders means it will be giving back 500m this year.

The firm is rumoured to be the target of a takeover attempt by private equity group Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.

Regional advertising

ITV is fighting to keep its audience share and advertising spoils, as viewers switch from analogue to digital using services such as Freeview and other platforms.

The firm said advertising share across its digital channels had risen by 28% on last year.

And it added that TV had been less affected by the weak advertising market than radio and newspapers, with income at its regional stations up 18% to 98m in the first half of 2006.

The company said it was aiming for a 38.5% slice of the UK TV advertising budget by 2012.

ITV is also looking for new ways to generate cash, and last year bought hit website Friends Reunited to provide another opportunity to sell advertising.

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