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ITV Shares Fall As Much As 5.2% on Slowing Ad Sales

ITV Plc, the U.K.’s biggest commercial broadcaster, dropped as much as 5.2 percent in London trading after the company predicted television advertising growth will slow in the fourth quarter.

The company, whose shows include “Britain’s Got Talent” and “X Factor,” said today television advertising revenue climbed 16 percent in the third quarter and will rise 10 percent in the fourth quarter.

“The economic outlook for 2011 is uncertain and we continue to plan on a cautious basis,” Chief Executive Officer Adam Crozier said in a statement. “The television advertising market has continued to recover strongly, however this does not disguise the significant challenges ITV faces.”

Crozier, who took over in April, is trying to reduce ITV’s dependence on the volatile advertising market and said in August that it will offer some of its channels on pay-television platforms and invest in online content. The London-based company, which received about 70 percent of its revenue from advertising last year, aims to get half of total sales from other sources within five years, it said in August.

ITV dropped as much as 3.7 pence to 67.35 pence, the biggest intraday decline since July 14, and stood at 70.6 pence as of 8:49 a.m.

Revenue in the first nine months of the year rose 11 percent to 1.46 billion pounds. Sales of the ITV studios dropped 10 percent to 205 million pounds, “emphasizing the need for creative renewal,” the company said.

Net debt dropped to 366 million pounds at Sept. 30 from 437 million pounds three months earlier.

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