(Adds details, analyst reaction)
By Paul Sandle
LONDON May 14 British broadcaster ITV
said that a stronger line up of programmes, including the start
of the soccer World Cup finals in June, would help it to claw
back lost viewers and boost net advertising revenue by 12-13
percent in the second quarter.
The company, home to popular serial drama Coronation Street
and Simon Cowell's Britain's Got Talent, said its channels had
not attracted the audiences it wanted in the first four months
of the year, with its share of viewers falling to 21.6 percent
from 23.4 percent a year ago.
Its share of viewing has been lower than expected so far
this year, Chief Executive Adam Crozier said after Wednesday's
trading update, adding that the company is confident in a
"strong schedule to come", including the World Cup in June.
First-quarter advertising revenue rose 2 percent, but the
company said that it achieved a 19 percent rise in April
advertising spend thanks to a late Easter and would lift
advertising revenue by 7 percent in May, with the World Cup
expected to help it to a 12-15 percent rise in June.
ITV shares broadcasting rights for the World Cup tournament
in Brazil with the publicly funded BBC.
Shares in ITV, which have risen 5 percent in past two weeks,
fell 5 percent 181.6 pence by 0826 GMT, the worst-performing
stock in the blue-chip FTSE 100 index.
Analysts at Citi said the second-quarter guidance for net
advertising revenue was just short of its 14 percent forecast
and that ITV had "some work to do for the remainder of the year
to get back on the front foot" on audience numbers.
ITV said that total external revenue for the three months to
March 31 rose 2 percent to 585 million pounds ($985 million).
Revenue at its production unit fell 4 percent in the
quarter, which it attributed to the phasing of programme
ITV has been building up its production capabilities to
reduce its reliance on advertising revenue and last week bought
U.S. reality TV producer Leftfield Entertainment for up to $800
($1 = 0.5939 British Pounds)
(Editing by David Goodman)