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