Earnings: ITV Hurt By Ad Falls While Online Relaunch Faces Further Delays

A digital plan can’t come soon enough for ITV but its mysterious new website has now been delayed again. First-half advertising revenue at main channel, ITV1, fell 9.6 percent (overall ad sales down 5.7 percent) because, under regulators’ rules, it is not able to raise ad rates in the face of falling viewer numbers. Meanwhile, its revenue from premium-rate phone-ins is down 20 percent after it canceled its ITV Player quiz show channel following public outcry over voting scandals.

Successive poor content offerings have turned viewers to multichannel alternatives so, amid the gloom, ITV is trying to trumpet its portfolio of digital TV channels (but no figures to indicate their success) and its $40 million VOD-heavy website relaunch. The new ITV.com was originally scheduled for March, then a launch event was held in May to say it’s coming “soon”, but the detail in the broadcaster’s statement to the annual general meeting reveals a further delay: “On May 1, we held a press launch for our new broadband offering, ITV.com, which we are confident will be the most comprehensive website offered by any UK commercial broadcaster. ITV.com will provide an attractive, free service to consumers and compelling online opportunities for our advertisers. ITV.com launches to consumers this summer and will offer live streaming of ITV