ITV braced for Olympics ad slowdown

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ITV has warned advertising revenues will be down by as much as 11 per cent this summer as viewers focus on the BBC’s wall-to-wall coverage of the Olympics.

Popular shows such as Britain’s Got Talent and the Euro 2012 football tournament helped ITV’s ad revenues rise three per cent in the first six months of the year, resulting in a 15 per cent rise in underlying profits to £235m.

But the Downton Abbey broadcaster expects a revenues fall of 10 per cent in July and 11 per cent in August, while September’s ad figure could be down by as much as five per cent.

It is likely that advertisers are reining in spending partly because viewers are expected to tune into the Olympics games coverage on the BBC, although the broader slowdown in the economy is also to blame.

The profits rise also reflected the continued recovery in fortunes at its Studios division, which has produced Titanic and Inspector Morse spin-off Lewis.