Russia’s TV advertising market is starting to be hit by the economic crisis affecting the country, with revenues in Q1 projected to be down by a quarter.

Quoting sources at three national channels, providing the assessments of the sales houses Vi and Gazprom-Media, AKTR and Vedomosti report that the fall is likely to be even steeper in the second quarter.

Although the entire ad market grew by 5% in the first three quarters of 2014, with TV budgets increasing by a minimum of 4%, the decline began in Q4, when it was predicted that TV ad revenues would slump by 10% in 2015.

Yuro Kostin, from Gazprom-Media, said that estimating the value of the ad market for Q1 is not yet possible. However, he added that advertisers on average spent 40% less this January than in the same period last year.

Comparisons with last year are nevertheless unreliable as the market was buoyed by the Sochi Winter Olympic Games.

In 2009, during the last economic crisis, the Russian TV ad market contracted by 20% in the first quarter.

The signs already point to the current crisis being more severe.