British terrestrial television broadcasters Channel 4 and Five plan to merge their sales activities should the much-anticipated unification of the ITV network become a reality.

The duo are currently locked in talks on the subject, with one insider claiming: “The conversations have moved on from ‘what if?’ to ‘when and how?’”

ITV’s two dominant shareholders, Carlton Communications and Granada Media, plan to merge once media ownership rules have been relaxed. Should the deal receive the regulatory green light, their combined sales house would control 53% of the TV ad market.

“If there was one ITV, we would put Channels 4 and 5 together the following day,” another senior mole declared. “We would have to do it to protect ourselves. If they let a single ITV go through … the competition authorities could not refuse to have a combined Channels 4 and 5 facing it.”

The two broadcasters are reportedly considering asking pay-TV operator BSkyB to join them as well.

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