04 August 2000

Two of Britain's leading advertising bodies, the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising and the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers have joined to lobby for stricter controls on the ‘share-of-broadcast’ ad sale conditions imposed by ITV companies.

The ITV franchisees have long demanded that advertisers commit a specific share of their adspend to the ITV network. This practice should be outlawed, the two trade bodies have told the Independent Television Commission, urging draconian penalties – a substantial fine or reduction in the term of a broadcaster’s licence – for broadcasters who break the rule.

The concerted ISBA/IPA demand follows receipt of a letter from Channel 5 sales director Nick Milligan. This drew the attention of the two trade bodies' to concerns voiced by the Competition Commission over ITV’s “anti-competitive” trading practices. The Commission’s report refers specifically to ITV’s share-of-broadcast deals and suggests that the ITC "should consider giving a direction under the licences preventing this practice."

Says IPA representative (and chief executive of Mediavest UK), Jim Marshall: “The ball is in the ITC's court to come up with something meaningful to stop this happening. They have to do something about it because it is an illegal practice. They should have licences removed if this happens.”

Bob Wootton, director of media services at ISBA, agrees: “We welcome the Competition Commission's suggestion that there should be a stricter way of tackling this ITV share deal issue.”

The ITC says it is too soon for any firm actions in respect of the Competition Commission’s recommendations. “We are considering what action would need to be taken,” it added.

News Source: CampaignLive (UK)