Britain's Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, representing most of the nations’ established ad shops, last week threatened legal action against the ITV Network Limited – a consortium comprising ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.

The IPA accuses ITV of breaching the 1998 Competition Act by insisting that its members accede to unrealistic accreditation rules whereby agencies must secure bank guarantees or insurance bonds to cover the cost of proposed media spend.

Of particular concern is the move to delist IPA members while negotiations with ITV on this issue are still in progress. The IPA argues that:

• ITV’s terms are inappropriate and do not reflect commercial reality.

• It is not the responsibility of agencies to insure media owners against loss.

• The cost of providing bank guarantees is prohibitively expensive and - given such wide exposure within one industry - will drive up premiums.

• Agencies already take out appropriate client credit insurance.

Says IPA director general Hamish Pringle: “The latest actions by ITV to begin to delist creditworthy IPA members, while we thought we were in the middle of negotiations, lead us to believe that they have no intention of reaching an amicable solution of this issue.

“If ITV insists on acting in a way that damages our members interests then they risk a massive and very public debate about its anti competitive behaviour, and possible legal actions by individual agencies and the IPA.”

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