Advertisers resist ITV firms' urge to merge

The message could not be more blunt if it was delivered by Cilla Black. When representatives from Britain's advertising industry meet the Competition Commission on Tuesday to discuss the proposed merger between Carlton and Granada, they will give it a big thumbs-down.

The message could not be more blunt if it was delivered by Cilla Black. When representatives from Britain's advertising industry meet the Competition Commission on Tuesday to discuss the proposed merger between Carlton and Granada, they will give it a big thumbs-down.

Advertisers are dead against the £2.4bn merger, believing that a single ITV company – controlling around 51 per cent of television advertising – would be anti-competitive. And, increasingly, advertisers are coming to the view that there is precious little which can be done to prevent a monopoly in advertising sales short of blocking the merger outright.

"We are very much opposed to the merger because of the combined airtime sales force," says Bernard Balderston, associate director of UK media at Procter & Gamble, the country's biggest spender on TV advertising with an annual budget of around £115m. "We don't see how this merger can proceed."

At Tuesday's meeting, the Commission will sit down with the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA), which represents companies responsible for two-thirds of UK television advertising. ISBA refuses to comment. However, it is thought to be worried that a merger would set a precedent for other television company sales forces to come together. The concern is shared by COI Communications, the Government's advertising agency which has an annual television budget of around £85m. A spokeswoman says: "The possible knock-on effect of other broadcasters following suit and merging their advertising sales is of concern."

Advertising agencies, represented by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, also have concerns. But there appears to be a little more optimism among some agencies that conditions can be attached to the merger to allay competition concerns.

"We reflect the view of our clients, and our clients are almost universally opposed to a single ITV sales house," says Rob Norman, chief executive of MediaEdge CIA, the media-buying arm of WPP Group. "ITV has half of all commercial impact and a massive proportion of the programmes that get 5 per cent of the total audience all at once."

Mr Norman says that apart from the "occasional freak of nature like the final episode of Big Brother on Channel 4", there is nowhere that advertisers can obtain a commercial audience of more than 10 million viewers outside ITV. These programmes are crucial for large-scale marketing campaigns, particularly new product launches where you want to get to the maximum number of viewers in the shortest possible time. "But what are the alternatives?" asks Mr Norman. He says the only split that has been shown to work is the divide between London weekday (Monday to Thursday) and London weekend.

The alternative to a weekday/weekend split is an alternate day arrangement – which ITV has said is unworkable – or splitting up the day into bands sold by different sales houses.

This could mean one sales house selling adverts during Coronation Street and another selling Lucky Jim. It could be the only way to make it Lucky ITV.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Lane Del Rey performing on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2014
people... but none of them helped me get a record deal, insists Lana Del Rey
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
British author Howard Jacobson has been long-listed for the Man Booker Prize
books
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Sport
Louis van Gaal watches over Nani
transfers
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
transfersColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Web / Digital Analyst - SiteCatalyst or Google Analytics

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client who are a leading publisher in...

Data Scientist

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A data analytics are currently looking t...

Graduate Sales Executive

17.5k + Commission (£18.5k after probation period): ESI Media: You will be res...

PPC Account Managers

£25k - £30k (DOE): Guru Careers: Two expert PPC Account Managers are needed to...

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn