ITV 'lifted by bumper Christmas ad sales'

Monday, November 23 2009, 10:44 GMT

By Andrew Laughlin,

ITV is targeting a strong December as advertising revenues are expected to soar by 11% across its entire channel portfolio compared to the same period last year.

The broadcaster is ready to surpass its own recent prediction of a 4% ad revenue increase for December to generate an extra 11 million, buoyed by a 12% year-on-year growth for ITV1, reports The Guardian.

According to a senior media source, ITV is able to predict such bullish results because the market for Christmas TV advertising is currently "going ballistic". Ad spend by food companies is up 40% year-on-year, drinks firms are spending 47% more, confectionery brands are up 44% and spending by the pharmaceutical industry is up 40%.

The surge in business means that ITV's entire channel portfolio is on track to generate 120m next month, up by 11m on its November 5 forecast.

In turn, the overall TV industry ad market is expected to grow by 7% year-on-year during December, up from a previous forecast of just 1%. Revenue predictions for November have also been revised from a 3% overall drop to a flat year-on-year return.

Despite such heartening figures for the UK's beleaguered TV industry, some experts have urged caution that the growth in ad spend could just be leftovers from 2009 budgets and may not continue into 2010.

"While this is excellent news, the question is how much of it is ring-fenced budgets that have not been spent over the year because clients have been cautious, and how much is a true return of confidence spending," said one source at a media buying agency. "It is too soon to say whether this kind of buoyancy will carry over to January."