Following its acquisition of HTV from Granada Media, Carlton has grabbed the sales contract for Scottish TV, closing the gap between itself and Granada in ITV market share.
Carlton, which will add Scottish TV, Grampian TV and HTV to its ITV sell, will hold a 46 per cent share of ITV advertising revenue, compared with Granada's 54 per cent.
The contract for Scottish, which was held by United News & Media's sales house TSMS, was put up for tender following Granada's purchase of United's ITV franchises this summer. Sources suggest that Carlton won the contract by guaranteeing a share of ITV revenue for Scottish.
While HTV and Scottish improves Carlton's overall position, media buyers believe that the battle for advertising revenue centres around the London sales proposition. One TV head said: 'Whoever wins London has a better chance of arm-locking agencies into their other regions. Scottish and HTV are tough regions to sell.'
Earlier this week, Carlton Communications agreed to buy the Wales and west of England franchise HTV from Granada for pounds 185.5 million and sold its 20 per cent stake in Meridian to Granada.
Steve Platt, the head of Carlton Sales, said of the HTV deal, which increases Carlton's share of ITV to 40 per cent: 'It's a critical figure - once you break the 40 per cent barrier, it's psychologically important with the market. We become a stronger proposition with clients and it will be difficult for a client not to use us.' He added that HTV would combine with West Country as a macro-region.
The purchase of Carlton's stake in Meridian brings Granada's share of the south-east of England ITV franchise to 99.9 per cent. Granada will keep HTV's Bristol-based production business, known for its children's and wildlife programming. The business will be incorporated into Granada's creative business.