ITV Merger Will Push Up Ad Rates, 70% of Advertisers Believe

14 October 2003

A snapshot opinion poll among a handful of major British advertisers and media buyers reveals a gloomy take on last week's green light for the merger of Carlton Communications and Granada Media.

However, question marks hang over the survey carried out for the Financial Times by The Ingram Partnership, given that its findings are based on a sample of just twenty-seven respondents. Nevertheless, says the FT, it represents "the earliest quantifiable reaction to the government's decision".

On the assumption that the integration of Carlton and Granada's respective sales houses goes ahead as planned, the survey indicates that …

• Seventy per cent of respondents expect ITV's national advertising rates will increase as a result of the merger.

• This number rises to 78% for the London market.

• Just 22% believe the advertising sales adjudicator proposed by the Competition Commission will succeed in preventing market abuses.

• Only 7% agreed with the statement that the post-merger management team of Michael Green (chairman) and Charles Allen (chief executive) will still be in place this time next year.

• Nonetheless, a surprising 52% said they supported the Carlton-Granada merger.

On Monday came further support from an unexpected quarter. ISBA (the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers) – hitherto opposed to the merging of the two ITV sales organisations – said the safeguards imposed as conditions of the merger would protect advertisers' interests if properly applied.

In her conditional approval last week, trade secretary Patricia Hewitt said ITV must satisfy the Office of Fair Trading it can comply with the merger conditions which include a rollover agreement for advertisers. It has until November 7 to do so.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff