ITV had hoped that its coverage of the Euro 2004 tournament would provide a boost for its share of impacts and improve its CRR position. While its exclusive coverage of England games performed strongly, it was trounced by the BBC in the subsequent games.
With July proving to be ITV's worst-ever month in terms of audience share, the autumn schedule becomes crucially important if it is to avoid an uncomfortable negotiation season.
"ITV needs to reassure advertisers and media agencies that it's got some high-quality, high-rating drama coming and I'm not sure that this is happening," Nick Theakstone, the managing director of Group M Trading, said.
Channel 4 has had a particularly strong summer with Big Brother and its coverage of the cricket keeping up its audience share. Last Friday's Big Brother final saw the station take a higher share of 16- to 34-year-old audiences than both ITV and BBC1 combined.
Separately, Justin Sampson, the director of customer relationship management of ITV Sales, intends to use the theme "values of fame" to re-engage advertisers, based around the idea that television is the most powerful and effective medium for driving brand fame and brand values.