ITV's profits have experienced a 28 per cent fall in the first part of the year as the broadcaster handles a struggling television advertising market.

Its pre-tax profits for the six-month period have been confirmed at £91 million, down from £127 million one year ago.

And the group's executive chairman Michael Grade said he expected its advertising revenues - to be confirmed in September - to be 20 per cent lower than last year's figures, when ratings were boosted by the Rugby World Cup.

However, he also attributed the changing figures to "wider economic pressures".

"Despite some dire predictions UK television advertising held up relatively well over the first half of the year and through the summer.

"ITV estimates that total net advertising revenue for the eight months to August will be down one per cent year-on-year, with ITV plc net advertising revenue flat.

"However on current estimates the television advertising market has weakened significantly in September, where trading is impacted by tough comparisons with the successful Rugby World Cup in 2007."

The figures also confirmed that ITV had spent £29 million more than last year on its sporting coverage, though the expenditure paid dividends as the broadcaster achieved some of its highest viewing figures from sport.

A notable success was the ten million-strong audience that tuned in for the Uefa Champions League final between Manchester United and Chelsea.

06/08/2008 09:00:14