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ITV and red-top tabloids forecast to suffer falls in 2006

LONDON – Opera, the Omnicom pooled-media buying operation, has predicted that 2006 will be a bad year for ITV, commercial radio and red-top tabloids, although overall adspend growth will be better than 2005.

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Opera's Economic and Media Forecast puts total UK adspend for 2006 at £13.2bn, up 3.1% on 2005. Display adspend for 2006 is put at £9.9bn, up 4.5%.

The report predicts ITV1's overall share of TV revenue will fall from 46.8% in 2005 to 43.3% next year, meaning the channel will lose £82m of revenue.

It said that the Contract Rights Renewal agreement has been an "unmitigated disaster" for ITV. CRR allows advertisers to pull money out of ITV1 if its audience share declines, which it has done.

Other losers in 2006 will be commercial radio, where total sector revenue will slide from £592m to £587m, and the lower end of the newspaper market.

Foreseeing a 3.5% circulation decline for the red-top tabloids and a 2%-3% decline for The Daily Express and the Daily Mail, Opera argues that those quality papers that have switched to compact sizes will perform well. It warns that the Daily Telegraph will experience increasing pressure to follow suit.

Among the winners in 2006 will be the online sector, which will take a 10% share of advertising by 2007, up from its current 8.6% share.

Spend on the TV sector as a whole will rise from £3.46bn this year to £3.55bn in 2006.

The out-of-home sector is tipped to reach its target of taking 10% share in 2007, after reaching £960m in 2006. Opera believes that Viacom Outdoor will beat JCDecaux to the massive London Underground contract, providing the catalyst for substantial and rapid expansion of digital poster technology.

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