Ad sales picture bleaker in Britain


US-based TV ad sales executives might feel like they’re banging their heads against a wall, but at least they’re not working in Britain where commercial broadcaster ITV today projected ad sales will be down by 17% in the first quarter of 2009 and down 20% in April.

The company, which counts News Corp.’s pay-TV operator BSkyB as a shareholder, reported a net loss today of $3.6 billion for 2008. The company wrote down the value of its assets which include a national TV station and handful of online ventures by $2.7 billion or $3.8 billion and will lay-off 600 staff. Even Pop Idol, which spawned Fox’s mega hit American Idol couldn’t prevent the slide.