Although the government’s promised Communications Bill is now in limbo [WAMN: 21 & 14-Jun-01], the Blair administration plans to create OfCom – a single regulatory body for all media including broadcast and telecommunications – in advance of publishing the bill towards the end of 2002.

Although the new watchdog is unlikely to be formally operational before 2003, senior ad industry figures expect earlier action. Ian Twinn, director of public affairs at the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers, is confident that OfCom will have at least a token presence well ahead of the scheduled date.

“It will be there in shadow form anyway before it takes over its official role,” Twinn predicts. “We are really pleased that the Government has recognised the need for a single regulator. There will be a concentration of media experts who will be serious commentators on any future developments.”

Meantime, the UK ad industry, which is far from euphoric at the competition implications of a merger between ITV giants Granada Media and Carlton Communications, sees the bill’s delay as a welcome respite.

News source: CampaignLive (UK)