ITV Bids To Capitalize on Licence Victory

01 July 2005

The UK's largest commercial broadcaster, ITV, is using its success in clinching substantial licence fee reductions to push for changes in advertising rules.

The broadcaster this week won a £135 million ($244m; €202m) cut in the amount it will have to pay this year for the use of the analogue broadcasting spectrum [WAMN: 30-Jun-05].

Flushed with success, ceo Charles Allen wants further concessions from media watchdog Ofcom and is seeking to loosen the Contracts Rights Renewal mechanism which protects advertisers from the loss of audience share at the broadcaster's flagship channel, ITV1.

Under the agreement, advertisers are entitled to reduce their adspend with ITV in line with a fall in viewing figures.

However Allen says the CRR should be scrapped because "less than 40% of households are not [now] on digital ... The rules are based on analogue share of viewing, and that is no longer relevant."

He also wants Ofcom to standardise the amount of advertising that can be shown per hour. ITV1 can air seven minutes in total, but digital-only channels can show nine minutes.

Data sourced from The Times Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff