U.K. media shares take a big hit

Shares in British media companies took a beating Thursday as they issued new warnings that some advertisers are pulling back and others, particularly dot-com firms, are disintegrating. In reporting the market hit, Britain’s Guardian newspaper commented: “After a difficult start to the year, experts had been hoping for an improvement in the second quarter but evidence is mounting that the advertising market is deteriorating rapidly.” It quoted Paul Greaves, associate director of media buying and planning agency the Media Planning Group, as saying: “No one had judged the speed of the slowdown.”