U.K. TV set for advertising recovery

ITV revenue to rise by as much as 30%

LONDON — Following a dire 2009, the U.K. TV advertising market is heading for a “robust recovery” this year, with local terrestrial giant ITV set for impressive gains in the first half, according to a report from forecaster Screen Digest.

“Trading conditions (in 2010) show a robust market recovery so far,” said Screen Digest. “Advertising demand and marketers’ confidence is clearly up this year … recovery is spread across a variety of sectors.”

Originally, Screen Digest predicted the U.K. TV market would grow by 2.1% this year. It has now revised the figure to 4.6%.

Two reasons for the strong figures are this summer’s FIFA World Cup soccer tournament in South Africa, which will bump ad sales, and dismal year-on-year comparisons.

Last year, ITV’s ad revenue fell by 9%, Channel 4 dropped by 10.5%, Five tumbled by 23% and BSkyB slid by 8%, according to the report.

This year, Screen Digest expects ITV to increase its ad revenue by 4.6% from £1.3 billion ($1.9 billion) to $2.1 billion.

Channel 4’s ad revenue is forecast to rise 4.8% from $1.06 billion to $1.11 billion.

Five and BSkyB will be up 4.2% to $379 million and 4.7% to $446 million, respectively.

The Screen Digest report follows two other positive assessments of TV advertising revenue.

Last week, media buying agency network Carat upgraded its global advertising forecast for 2010 to 2.9% due to clear signs of recovery in markets. And on Monday, analysts at the Royal Bank of Scotland forecast a healthy market for ITV, with an annual increase of 8% this year.