Carol Fisher, chief executive of COI Communications, the administrative interface between the British government and its official advertising and marketing agencies, has slammed Britain's leading commercial broadcaster, the ITV Network, for its “arrogance”.

Fisher, who controls an annual budget of £190 million – about half of which is spent with ITV – indulged in some unusually plain speaking in an interview with Campaign magazine, warning ITV executives they must show greater flexibility if they want to retain their share of the government’s advertising.

Apparently [and naively] believing she was speaking off the record Fisher told Campaign: “Last year, nobody from ITV wanted to talk to clients. They were extremely arrogant and I think they paid a price for that.” She added that the COI is considering shifting spend from ITV and other mainstream channels to smaller cable, digital and satellite broadcasters.

Today she refused to make any further comment.

Many industry observers, however, are not inclined to disagree with Fisher, recalling the high-handed attitude of ITV and its kindred during last year’s telecoms and dotcom bonanza.

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