The formation of a single ad sales operation for leading British commercial television network ITV will push up the broadcaster’s advertising price premium, a rival sales house has claimed.

ITV traditionally attracts more than half of all British television ad revenues. Advertisers fear the proposed merger of the network's leading shareholders Granada Media and Carlton Communications will give the resulting single sales house too much power over the TV ad market [WAMN: 16-Dec-02].

Viacom Brand Solutions, which handles such channels as MTV (and is none too keen on a merger of its larger rivals), says it has evidence that the premium charged by ITV for airtime shot up when the network went from three sales houses to two in 2000.

It is claimed that before this happened, ITV charged 6% above average for all viewers and 18% above average for the advertiser-friendly 16–34 demographic. These premiums rose to 14% and 42% respectively in the two years after 2000.

ITV dismissed the findings, arguing that they reflect the fact that revenues did not fall as sharply as audiences over the period.

Data sourced from: BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff