ITV Ad Prices Under Fire As Colgate Threatens to Pull Spend

13 December 2002

Struggling British television network ITV could lose a sizeable chunk of its ad revenues, after Colgate-Palmolive threatened to shift all its advertising from the broadcaster in protest at the premium it charges for airtime.

The consumer products firm spends almost £6 million ($9.5m; €9.3m) a year on advertising, and is furious at the high prices the network demands.

ITV traditionally delivers by far the highest ratings of any commercial channel in the UK, but has had a disappointing year. Zenith Optimedia estimates that ITV will end 2002 with a 43.5% audience share, but with 53.9% of all TV adspend.

Colgate is not the only advertiser to feel such a mark-up is unjustified. Home improvements group B&Q, with an advertising spend five times that of Colgate, is also said to be mulling a move away from ITV.

Another bone of contention is the anticipated merger between the two biggest ITV shareholders, Granada Media and Carlton Communications, which prompted Procter & Gamble to warn it may “look elsewhere”.

The bad news for the broadcaster is that these public complaints from advertisers come at a time when around 60% of its ad deals are up for review. What a coincidence!

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff