CARLTON GRANADA MERGER: Industry divided by Patricia Hewitt's decision

NICK THEAKSTON, investment director, MindShare

"There's both good and bad to come out of the decision. Overall, ITV is in terminal decline and this may stop the rot.

"But the rollover contracts put a vice-like grip on the status quo. The situation is that you can keep your terms the same, or you can renegotiate and get worse terms.

"We need an independent regulator to prevent abuse, but they don't know who yet. It needs to be someone both sides respect, who understands the nitty gritty. There's a very limited number of people who fall into this category.

"I think the whole thing could become unwieldly and unworkable. It's questionable how much notice the sales people take of this regulatory body."

JERRY HILL, chief executive, Initiative Media

"ITV has been taken away from its structural bureaucracy with its regional set-up, and put into a behavioural bureaucracy.

"I feel that there are two ways to look at the decision. It's a progressive move and it reflects what is happening in the industry at large. However, it was a decision that was driven by political will and I think advertisers' concerns were relegated."

ALAN DOYLE, communications director, Volkswagen

"I feel the deal raises concerns about anti-competitive behaviour. It shows a disturbing selective myopia in the Government - it seems incredible that it doesn't think that a 52 per cent share of the market is uncompetitive when it's so hot at regulating other areas - for example, the supermarket sector.

"Smaller players such as Channel 4 and five may retaliate and cut prices, but airtime on ITV is a crucial part of any TV advertising strategy and it cannot be ignored."

MARC SANDS, marketing director, Guardian Newspapers

"I don't forsee any problems. There are ways to get round using ITV if clients have concerns. Smaller advertisers can be nimble and creative with the alternatives available, although bigger players, or those which use lots of daytime slots, may not be well positioned to do this.

"I believe that it is in everybody's interests to have a strong ITV. We can all bitch and moan about the rates but let's start with a strong ITV, make sure it's regulated adequately, and make sure it works properly."

PAUL CURTIS, managing director, Viacom Brand Solutions

"This remedy is unworkable. It maintains an inherently unfair system and this is the biggest flaw in this piece of legislation."

CHANNEL 4 STATEMENT

"We hope the remedies will be enough to prevent any abuse by a single ITV of its dominant position.

"We are confident that a smaller, independent player such as Channel 4 can continue to prosper because our financial success in the past decade has been built on delivering an up-market and younger alternative to the mainstream audiences for ITV."

AGENCY VIEW

"It's difficult to claim to be anything other than disappointed. We've always favoured a structural solution and they've come up with a behavioural one.

"The main concern for advertisers is airtime sales. ITV is in a potentially unhealthily strong position.

"The structural remedy adds more concerns and there's a lot that needs to be clarified.

"We are disappointed, but we need to get on with it."

Jim Marshall, chairman, IPA media futures group

ADVERTISER VIEW

"ISBA is pleased that advertiser concerns take centre stage in the Competition Commission and secretary of state decision. We look forward to working with Ofcom/ Office of Fair Trading to clarify the details of the remedy and ensure the fairest possible marketplace for UK TV airtime under the auspices of an effective, independent adjudicator."

Bob Wootton, director of media and advertising, ISBA

CITY VIEW

"I think Carlton and Granada will be delighted, as it's the best possible outcome for them. I have long been a supporter of them. There have been changes there in the past nine to 12 months. They have made real strides in programming, focus and in terms of what they are trying to achieve. They have targeted £50 million of savings through the merger and £20 million of that will come from keeping two sales houses. Advertisers will have reservations but we will have to wait and see."

Paul Richard, media analyst, Numis Securities

COMPETITOR VIEW

"The simplest way to move money out of ITV is to move your business to an agency with a low ITV share commitment. Agencies with a low ITV commitment will be able to use the Competition Commission's ruling to drive new business."

Nick Milligan, deputy chief executive, five.

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