Just when you thought TV advertising must be booming with all those heavily promoted autumn season programmes comes disconcerting news for commercial channel managers: ad revenue is not rising – it’s on the wane.

Talk in the media buying world is that October net advertising across ITV channels is TV    down by between 10 and 11 per cent year-on-year against five per cent previously.

The industry is now in the critical autumn budget- setting season and the unexpectedly gloomy news will send shivers down the spines of programme producers and planners.

Shares in publicly quoted ITV have already been hit and have fallen by a third, from 278p at the start of this year to just 186p now.

ITV has already warned company analysts that September ad revenue was likely to be down by between five and ten per cent and it is now likely that annual ad sales will turn negative.

That will be surprise news for millions of TV watchers – particularly on the secondary commercial channels – where it can seem as if the actual programmes are little more than irritating interruptions between the long strings of commercials.

The latest warnings follow downbeat assessments across the industry earlier this year and growing concern among investors, broadcasters and brands that the long boom in TV advertising may be coming to an end.

According to data from the Advertising Association, TV advertising has enjoyed an unbroken run of strong and accelerating growth since the 2009 financial crisis…

While digital advertising has grown faster, TV budgets remain much larger and have benefited as household brands have shifted money away from struggling tabloid newspapers.

Meanwhile industry leader Sir Martin Sorrell has also voiced concern over the overall effectiveness of online marketing for brands and levels of traffic fraud, whereby digital advertising is “viewed” by computers rather than people.

Total TV advertising revenues hit £5.2 billion last year, well up on the £3.7 billion trough in 2009.

The malaise may be due to several factors – the decline in hours devoted to TV watching, particularly amongst young people as the internet, digital media and online shopping have grabbed more of our eyeball attention.

Advertisers, despite Sir Martin Sorrell’s misgivings, are increasingly adopting a multi- media approach to get their brands across to the public.

And it could be, of course that, setting aside those heavily promoted drama blockbusters such as Victoria, much of TV output now is, well… just crap.

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