ITV, Britain’s terrestrial commercial network, is to be allowed greater flexibility in its joint selling of airtime.

Industry watchdog, the Independent Television Commission, has moved in accordance with a ruling last year by the Competition Commission that ITV could merge its selling activities into just two franchises.

With immediate effect, television companies with five per cent or less of the total airtime market can combine their sales operations – the exceptions being non-ITV broadcasters Channels 4, 5 and BSkyB. The ITC has also spelled out that ITV’s dominant duo, Carlton Communications and Granada Media cannot combine airtime sales, nor may they participate in any other ITV joint deals.

“The ITC recognises that regulation will need to be rolled back as the market position of the terrestrial operators is eroded and general competition can be relied upon,” said ITC deputy director of advertising and sponsorship Ian Blair. “In the meantime,” he added, “these revised rules address the areas where the might be significant potential for anti-competitive behaviour.”

News source: CampaignLive (UK)