Allen says ITV revenue will grow 5 per cent this year

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The Independent Online

ITV will see advertising revenue growth of up to 5 per cent this year, its chief executive Charles Allen has said, with September up a healthy 7 per cent.

ITV will see advertising revenue growth of up to 5 per cent this year, its chief executive Charles Allen has said, with September up a healthy 7 per cent.

The broadcaster will herald an advertising rebound in its interim results on 9 September. The first half saw advertising sales growth of 4.5 per cent, Mr Allen told delegates at the Edinburgh television festival this weekend. He said the full year would see 4.5 to 5 per cent expansion.

Speaking to journalists after the event, Mr Allen said that all the top advertising categories, except food and telecoms, had grown. At a conference session, Mr Allen said: "We haven't seen this level of growth since 2000."

The head of ITV used the occasion to rebut suggestions that the fall in audience that ITV has seen this year would mean the broadcaster having to refund about £100m to its advertisers at the end of 2004 - ad money is paid up front. "There's no money being paid back. That's the American system. We don't have that here," Mr Allen said.

Regulators allowed Carlton and Granada to merge, to form a single ITV, on condition that the relationship of the combined company with advertisers was governed by a system supposed to reward ITV for gains in audience and punish it for lower ratings. It is estimated that the 2 to 3 percentage points of audience share that ITV has lost this year would equate to the loss of £100m in ad revenues.

Mr Allen said the system did not include any refund mechanism. He added that he did not think the audience loss would result in £100m less being committed by advertisers for next year, which the regulatory remedy does allow.

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