The mouthwatering £2.7 bn loss was large made up of capital write downs. But the £167m trading profit from last year was for the calendar year 2008, with the slump in advertising spend only taking effect in the last quarter. With spend down around 20% this year, ITV is effectively trading at a loss. As most likely are both Channel 4 and five. And that's just the broadcasters. National newspapers are in a terrible state and things are even worse for local papers, more than 50 of which have closed since the recession hit.
The downturn in advertising is one problem - but structural change is an even bigger one. Advertisers are increasingly switching their spend online. Last year in the UK Google's revenues exceeded those of ITV. In fact only the only media players in reasonable shape at the moment are the BBC, cushioned by £3.4 bn of guaranteed income from the licence fee and Sky, which had the foresight to develop a commercial model based on subscription as well as advertising.
If media companies start dropping like ninepins, the implications are profound. Quality and choice in media isn't just about giving a better choice to consumers: it is actually about maintaining an open, free and healthy democracy. Stephen Glover is right to sound the alarm on this in today's Daily Mail.
But sorting this out is much less about government hand-outs than looking at the regulatory structure that was constructed for a pre-internet world. Unfortunately the government seems more interested in publishing endless reviews than actually sorting things out. The risk is that by the time they get round to doing anything there may not be much of a media sector left. Britain has some of the best choice and variety of media of any country anywhere - but it is hanging by a thread.