ITV said its advertising revenue fell in the first nine months of this year and is set to drop even further by the end of the year.
The British broadcaster reported that its total ad revenue slipped seven per cent in the nine months to 30 September this year, a £96m drop compared with the same period last year.
Shares dropped over 5.5 per cent when the market opened on Wednesday.
ITV, which is currently showing popular dramas like The Tower and Six Four, said it expects total ad revenue for its full year to be down eight per cent from 2022.
Last year was the second best for advertising in ITV’s history thanks to the Fifa World Cup.
The television network said: “In light of these conditions, total content spend for the full year will be £10 million lower than previously guided at around £1,290 million as we rephase content into 2024.”
ITV Studios, its content creation unit, made £1.5bn, a nine per cent increase on last year. It offset the weak advertising sales and so total revenue grew by one per cent in the first nine months of the year.
ITV chief executive Carolyn McCall said: “We are on track to deliver £15 million of cost savings in 2023, as part of our previously announced £50 million cost-saving target between 2023 and 2026.”
In October, the UK’s competition watchdog launched an investigation into potential breaches of competition law involved in the production and broadcasting of television content, including by ITV and the BBC.
Lead equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, Sophie Lund-Yates, said ITV is “at the mercy of creaking economic conditions” and tightening company marketing budgets. Shifting the advertising top-line will be a “very difficult task”.
“The structural decline in broadcast advertising isn’t exactly a new bulletin, but the extent of the challenges are becoming more pronounced.
“Pushing content spend out into next year won’t have been a decision taken lightly – cost cutting can only go so far, and trimming this area of the business wreaks slightly of desperation,” she added.