LONDON: Communications regulator Ofcom will rule on the controversial ITV contract rights mechanism "by the end of summer" - presumably the end of this month.[Although many would argue that it ended in May!]

But in best British bureaucratic tradition, no decision will be taken as to the CRR's continuance or otherwise. Ofcom will simply decide "whether to conduct a review".

The CRR was imposed upon ITV plc, the company created in 2004 by the merger of Granada and Carlton Communications to form the UK's largest commercial broadcaster.

It links increases in ad rates to ratings, and was intended to stop the company's flagship channel ITV1 from exploiting its dominant market position.

ITV1, whose audience share has fallen since the merger from over 51% to below 40% this year, has been lobbying long and loud for the CRR's removal.

Advertisers and agencies, on the other hand, are resolutely opposed to the lifting of the restraints. The unnamed chairman of one ad agency told The Guardian newspaper: "We wouldn't automatically oppose a review, but our view is clear."

However, it is believed that any decision to review CRR is unlikely to take effect until 2009.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff