Buyers seek clarity as ITV profits slump

Agencies have called for greater clarity from ITV over its plans as it announced a 35 per cent fall in pre-tax profits.

Profits, which slid to £188 million, were hit by a drop in phone-in revenues following last year's scandals. Ad revenue was flat at £1,489 million after a 33 per cent rise in revenue across digital channels. ITV1 ad revenue fell 4 per cent to £1,224 million.

Chris Locke, the group trading director at Starcom, said: "ITV is generally doing a good job, but I want to know more about the future - what are its plans? Does it have any new channels or new ideas?"

Locke also called for ITV to review its decision to reinstate News at Ten. He said: "News at Ten doesn't fit. Ten to 12pm is a massive viewing segment - almost peaktime for an important demographic. It's almost reached the stage where anyone under 80 will turn over."

John Overend, the joint managing director of OPera, said: "ITV's advertising performance has been very good. I think ITV as a group of channels will grow its share of advertising this year."