Ofcom is to be the main focus of the Government's draft
Communications Bill, while media ownership legislation is unlikely to
change for the next two years, it was revealed in the Queen's Speech
The ratifying of Ofcom, a single communications regulator, has been
welcomed by the advertising and media industries, although there is some
disappointment that the regulatory body is not likely to be formally set
up before 2003.
It had been hoped that the new body would actually come into force much
However, Ian Twinn, the director of public affairs at ISBA, said he was
confident that Ofcom would exist in some form by next year: "It will be
there in shadow form anyway, before it takes over its official role. We
are really pleased that the Government has recognised the need for a
single regulator. There will be a concentration of media experts who
will be serious commentators on any future developments."
The issue of cross-media ownership and allowing greater consolidation
within the media industry through relaxing market share restrictions
remains unresolved. This has created relief among the advertising
industry that the prospect of a Carlton/ Granada merger is unlikely to
happen until at least 2003.