City File: LWT slipping

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The Independent Online
THE constantly shifting hierarchy of ITV companies will be on show when Central TV and LWT produce their results this week. Conventional wisdom is that Greg Dyke is the most powerful man in independent television by virtue of being chief executive of LWT.

But Thursday's figures will show that LWT's position has slipped. It suffered from a large advertising push by Thames just before Thames lost its franchise, and is losing the battle for London audiences with Carlton. LWT's pre-tax profits should show a modest increase of at least 10 per cent to pounds 28m.

Central, on the other hand, continues to thrive. Having paid just pounds 2,000 to retain its franchise, it will be able to report a two thirds increase in the taxable total to more than pounds 40m.

With a balance sheet that is strong and getting stronger, Central must be looking to flex its muscles in the industry, though it is still constrained by the Broadcasting Act.