LONDON: Britain's biggest commercial broadcaster, ITV, has been told by the Blair administration not to hold its breath in anticipation of early regulatory changes.

Shaun Woodward, minister for Creative Industries & Tourism, told a gathering of industry professionals that the company must rely on its own creative resources to resolve its current problems.

He was answering ITV executive chairman Michael Grade's recent complaint that the Contract Rights Renewal mechanism (which prevents the TV giant from raising commercial airtime prices to compensate for falling viewer numbers) is stifling programming innovation and should be scrapped [WARC News: 24-Apr-07].

Woodward agrees - but only up to a point - telling the Broadcasting Press Guild: "Regulation is relevant, but it is in danger of being the distraction."

He stressed there is no immediate hurry to change the regulatory status quo, adding: "What there is not, is a need to do something quickly - in the next six to nine or 12 months."

Which means that ITV must continue to labour under rules that also govern the proportion of program-ming it must buy from independent producers, and its obligations on original productions, news and regional output.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff