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ITV has warned investors to expect a tough first half of 2017 in the advertising market, as the UK’s biggest commercial broadcaster reported a 9 per cent fall in net advertising revenue to £393m in the first three months of the year.

Ahead of Wednesday’s annual meeting and in his last trading update before he stands down as chief executive next month, Adam Crozier said the “economic environment remains uncertain” but that the company’s guidance for the rest of the year remained unchanged.

Overall revenues in the first quarter declined by 3 per cent compared to the same period last year to £731m despite the group’s production arm ITV Studios increasing revenues by 7 per cent.

Although the growth in revenues at ITV Studios has helped cushion the company from the deteriorating ad market, the company is braced for further decline in the second quarter before a predicted improvement later in the year.

ITV said ad revenues could be down by between 15 and 20 per cent in June due to the lack of an international football tournament this summer and said overall net advertising would be down by between 8 and 9 per cent for the first six months of 2017.

Mr Crozier announced last week he would be stepping down at the end of June after seven years in charge. Chairman Sir Peter Bazalgette, who has been appointed interim executive chair, is now leading the search for his replacement.

ITV said:

The Company has a well developed succession plan in place and a longer term successor to Adam will be announced in due course.

Photo: Reuters

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