Total TV revenues could be down by as much as 10 per cent for May, according to early estimates from broadcasters and media agencies.
After a solid first four months of the year, the expected May fall comes as clients tighten advertising budgets amid worsening economic conditions.
The drop could result in as much as £30 million coming out of the TV market over the month, based on estimates that May 2007 TV revenues totalled £301 million.
However, agencies said that one month's revenue figures are not necessarily a sign of prolonged slump. One broadcast director said: "A fall in May is not that surprising, because the early Easter has thrown everything out a bit. Even with a poor May, it's too early to identify a pattern of downturn - you'll really need to see what happens in June and July."
Revenue projections for the UK TV market across 2008 indicate that it will grow slightly. After a flat first quarter, with sources suggesting that total revenues were down by around 0.5 per cent, one broadcaster has downgraded its overall growth forecast for 2008 from 1 per cent to 0.5 per cent.
Expectations for summer revenue performance have already been downplayed following England's failure to qualify for the Euro 2008 football championships. ITV will broadcast some of the key games from the tournament.
Both ITV and Channel 4 unveiled their spring and summer programming line-ups this week in a bid to impress viewers and advertisers. ITV's schedule will include the return of Britain's Got Talent, the hit US series Pushing Daisies and Marco Pierre White's Great British Feast.