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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 August 2007, 08:35 GMT 09:35 UK
ITV sees further advertising fall
ITV logo at the London Television Studios
ITV is the UK's largest free-to-air commercial broadcaster
Broadcaster ITV has reported a 5% dip in half-year advertising revenues, but insisted that the UK television advertising market is now recovering.

Reporting its results for the six months to 30 June, the firm's net advertising revenues fell to 717m from 752m for the same period last year.

The decline contributed to a 39% fall in pre-tax profit, down to 105m from 173m a year earlier.

ITV said it expected advertising revenues to rise for 2007 as a whole.

The company is the UK's largest free-to-air commercial broadcaster.

'Encouraging signs'

ITV chairman Michael Grade said the firm was continuing work to revitalise its main ITV1 channel.

It is still early days, but there are already signs that Grade's tenure is beginning to have a positive impact on the fortunes of ITV
Richard Hunter, Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers

"We have seen some encouraging early signs of recovery as ITV1's performance begins to stabilise in the first six months of 2007," he said.

"Ratings decline has slowed and the advertising environment continues to improve, as the UK television advertising market in the first half was essentially flat and is growing in the third quarter."

ITV now expects the overall UK television advertising market to increase 6% between July and September, from a year earlier, and be up for the first nine months of 2007 as a whole.

Regarding the recent controversy over phone-in competitions and programme integrity that have dogged a number of UK broadcasters, ITV said it had now put in policy of zero tolerance.

"We believe that by taking this zero tolerance stance, our in-house and external producers and suppliers will understand the high standards we expect from them and, in turn, the public will know that they are able to continue to value, enjoy and trust what we broadcast," the broadcaster said.

Richard Hunter, head of UK equities at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers, said the results were generally positive.

"It is still early days, but there are already signs that Grade's tenure is beginning to have a positive impact on the fortunes of ITV," he said.

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