Unilever cuts £120m from spend with ITV

Unilever has renewed its four-year airtime deal with ITV, but on sharply reduced terms, as the commercial broadcaster's flagship channel struggles to maintain audience share.

The deal, which includes beyond-the-spot activity as well as traditional ad breaks, is worth £200 million. The previous deal, signed in May 2002, was worth £320 million.

According to agency contacts, spend has been reduced in light of audience decline on ITV1. Also, FMCG clients are moving their spend out of TV into other media.

The new deal includes caveats and incentives for ITV to deliver audiences, and covers ITV's digital channels, ITV2, ITV3 and ITV4.

News of the deal comes on the back of ITV announcing strong results for the year ending December 2005. The results showed good performances from the broadcaster's digital channels, which offset falling ad revenues on ITV1.

ITV's total revenues for the year climbed 6 per cent to £2.18 billion, despite ad revenues from ITV1 falling 3.3 per cent to £1.46 billion.