Ofcom rejects probe into TV advertising

Advertising agencies and broadcasters are breathing a sigh of relief after the media regulator Ofcom decided against recommending a Competition Commission investigation into how TV ads are bought and sold.

"We have decided that the current rules remain fit for purpose," said Ofcom.

Critics allege that the system is opaque as media-buying agencies sometimes receive discounts – depending on their spend and share – from broadcasters, which might not always be to the benefit of advertising clients.

Panmure Gordon's analyst Alex de Groote said Ofcom's decision is good news for ITV, whose hit show Downton Abbey attracts large audiences, and is British TV advertising's biggest player with nearly 50 per cent of the market.

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