Autumn has brought some much-needed respite for ITV. The return of The X Factor has helped to push Saturday-night viewing figures over the 10m mark. On 31 October, it commanded a 42% audience share.
While November ad sales are predicted to be down 1% on the same period last year, they should begin growing - by 4% year on year - in December.
'X Factor is a big part of this new money and next year ITV will have to keep the schedule strong,' says Phil Hall, head of TV at agency MediaCom. 'ITV1 has become a default channel choice for a lot of viewers on a Saturday night, which was not the case a few years ago.'
Simon Bevan, head of broadcast at media agency Vizeum, believes ITV's figures are boosted by brands hoping to increase pre-Christmas sales. 'Late money came into the market this year as retailers have been taking the final throw of the dice in the run-up to Christmas,' he says.
When ITV finally appoints its next chairman and chief executive, their immediate priority will be to lay a secure financial foundation.
The broadcaster will hope to complete the sale of its Friends Reunited social-networking site, pending a report by the Competition Commission. It is also selling off its stake in cinema advertising company Screenvision US.
ITV's debts have been reduced and decisions made about regulation, such as product-placement guidelines and CRR rules, could allow it to generate more revenue.
By rebranding ITV News, it has indicated a commitment to strengthen its content for the long term. The broadcaster is also experimenting with cross-platform viewing, launching online-only episodes of Coronation Street.
The signs of revival at ITV are promising. However, the question on advertisers' minds will be whether it can maintain momentum after The X Factor final and into 2010.
IN MY VIEW - EXPERT COMMENT - Chris Locke, Group trading director, Starcom
The X Factor is a big part of ITV's growth. It's seen by advertisers as a very powerful tool and it's the only programme they specifically ask to be placed around.
Traditionally ITV does badly in the summer, but next year it will be able to build its schedule around the World Cup.
However, it won't want to alienate women, because that would shut out the FMCG brands.
This article was first published on Marketing