Concerned at the likely impact on Britain's TV trading market of a merged ITV -- which creams more than 50% of the nation's entire TV ad revenues -- the Competition Commission last year urged new broadcast media regulator Ofcom to review the post-merger marketplace.

Despite what was to all intent and purpose a 'royal command', Ofcom chief executive Stephen Carter sees no need for swift action. In an interview with ad trade weekly Campaign, Carter admitted to dragging his feet.

"My own view is I don't see any value in doing that [complying with the review recommendation] until after the second deal season. I think in 2005, after we've had the 2004 and 2005 deal seasons, then it's a sensible time to look at the market review because you've got some evidence you can interpret and some market consequences that are readable."

Some see Carter's distaste for prompt action as strange, especially in the light of allegations "informally" reported to Ofcom's ITV adjudicator David Connolly.

These aver the broadcaster has been selling its ITV portfolio of channels on a conditional basis. In plain language: gearing the price of timeslots on its flagship ITV1 channel to the purchase of ads on its other less popular properties

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