Between the Lines: ITV airtime furore is petty

ITV is no stranger to a bit of clever manipulation of its advertising airtime. But it does seem to be sending out rather confused messages (page 1).

On one hand, it is lobbying Ofcom to allow its peaktime ad minutage to rise to 12 minutes an hour, in line with its cable and satellite rivals.

On the other, it has been accused of using its own advertising to reduce the supply of advertising airtime artificially.

It is an old trick, but does it really justify rivals' wrath? Given the small sums involved, not really. Despite the new collegiate face of TV marketing, this latest rift demonstrates TV companies are happy to get petty if it makes trouble for a rival.