NEWS: ITC rules out legal change to expand ITV sales houses

The ITV companies’ hopes of utilising the Broadcasting Bill to extend their airtime sales operations were dashed this week by the Independent Television Commission.

The ITV companies’ hopes of utilising the Broadcasting Bill to extend

their airtime sales operations were dashed this week by the Independent

Television Commission.



The ITC has issued a statement supporting the current limits on the size

of sales houses, which are not allowed to control more than 25 per cent

of total TV ad revenue.



The ITC has also decided that the measurement of market share will be

determined by the current shares each sales house controls, rather than

by forecasts of future changes in market share.



The launch of Channel 5 is expected to reduce ITV’s share of the TV ad

market by up to 5 per cent, but the ITC decision means that the ITV

sales houses won’t be able to expand in anticipation of this.



The ITC’s decision has sparked speculation that Channel 5 will not

finish retuning the nation’s TV equipment in time for a 1 January

launch. Rival TV executives reason that the ITC must be concerned about

Channel 5’s readiness, and so is refusing to account for its impact.



Nick Milligan laughed off the speculation: ‘ITV is behaving like King

Canute. Everything’s on line for a January launch, so it had better roll

its trousers up.’



Frank Willis, the ITC’s director of advertising and sponsorship, said

that the ITC was working on today’s market position because forecasts

can be wrong. He added: ‘We hope that Channel 5 will start as early as

possible, but one can never be sure.’



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