ITV Shares Drop Amid Tougher Outlook

Analysts downgrade ITV after it announced the first negative advertising forecast in the U.K. TV sector for 18 months.

 

LONDON -- Shares in ITV dropped more than 4 percent to 73 pence ($1.20) Wednesday after the broadcaster announced a lower than expected advertising outlook for the next quarter.

Analysts including Numis and UBS downgraded ITV after it announced the first negative advertising forecast in the U.K. TV sector for 18 months.

The broadcaster behind X Factor and Downton Abbey said it expects advertising revenue for May to be down by 9 percent year-on-year, and predicted a fall of as much as 20 percent in June based on tough comparisons with last year, when World Cup soccer buoyed ITV's performance.

"We expected the advertising Market in he second quarter would be difficult, given the very tough comparators and the continued economic uncertainty," said ITV chief executive Adam Crozier.

"While this has proved the case, we still expect to see an increase in advertising revenue for the first half of the year."

The network may well have a tough time beyond the quarter, with the absence of Simon Cowell expected to affect ratings fall ratings for XFactor, traditionally ITV's most commercially successful show.

Audiences for Britain's Got Talent are already lower in the absence of Cowell, who is working on the U.S. launch of X Factor on Fox this fall.

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