David Prosser: Not much of a welcome for ITV's new boss
Wednesday 16 September 2009
Outlook First, an apology. Contrary to the impression given by this newspaper and all others, ITV is not the sick man of broadcasting, brought low by a combination of the recession and poor programming. No, it is the dominant force in commercial broadcasting today, able to trample all over advertisers who cannot do without it – unless, that is, a powerful regulator intervenes.
That, at least, is the picture painted yesterday by the Competition Commission, as it rejected the case for abandoning the contract rights renewal regime that has prevented ITV using its dominant position to exploit advertisers since the merger of Carlton and Granada in 2003.
This is one of those cases where you can pick your statistics to suit your argument. ITV points to the explosion of digital television over the past six years, which has seen the number of households with multi-channel viewing facilities more than double. With all those new competitors, ITV points out that its share of television advertising revenue has slipped from 48 per cent to 36 per cent since 2004.
The Competition Commission doesn't dispute those figures. But it is more interested in other data, such as ITV's 90 per cent plus share of mass audience programmes. It is impossible to mount a large-scale television-based advertising campaign targeting a number of crucialdemographic audiences without using ITV, the Commission says.
The ruling is undoubtedly a blow to ITV (and to other commercial broadcasters, which tend to set their advertising rates at a discount to ITV's charges). Not only will the continuation of CRR make it tougher for ITV to raise its rates, but the Commission's report is also effectively a sideswipe at the way the company has been managed – with these sort of advantages, results should have been better.
There will now be a continued period of discussions between ITV, the Commission and other interested parties. But a deal looks out of the question before the crucial negotiations over 2010 advertising campaigns begin.
Nor will Michael Grade, who could set a finish date as early as this week, bequeath his successor at ITV a more benign regulatory environment – one of the objectives he has been working towards throughout his three years at the helm.
All very disappointing. ITV's new boss certainly has his work cut out. Maybe that's why the broadcaster has taken such an age to find the right candidate. The delays can't be down to any lack of competence within ITV (despite all the public backbiting over certain candidates). That's not the sort of company the broadcaster is, the Competition Commission said yesterday.
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
iJobs Money & Business
$200 - $350 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: Managing Producer Office...
$125 - $225 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advi...
Up to £70,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...
Up to £65,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...