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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
people'Interview of the year' no letdown
Sport
Wayne Rooney
sportBut which sporting Brit beats him to top spot in Sunday Times Rich List?
News
Maxine Peake at home in front of a poster for Keeping Rosy
people
Arts and Entertainment
Boys in blue: Peter Firth and (right) Kit Harington in Spooks
filmHow well will Spooks make the leap from the small to the big screen?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Royal fans covered with Union Jacks and royal memorabilia wait for Kate, Duchess of Cambridge to go into the Lindo wing at St Mary's Hospital to give birth to her second child in London, Friday, April 24, 2015.
peopleLive updates in the wait for Duchess of Cambridge's second child
Sport
Arsène Wenger (left) and Jose Mourinho have to be separated by the fourth official, Jon Moss, during last October’s Premier League match at Stamford Bridge
football
Arts and Entertainment
Tate Modern chief Chris Dercon, who will be leaving to run a Berlin theatre company
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Tasos: 'I rarely refuse an offer to be photographed'
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
tv
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
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

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Urgent Requirement - Central Manchester

£20000 - £23000 per annum + 20 days holidays & pension: Ashdown Group: Marketi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Guru Careers: Social Media Executive / SEO Executive

£20 - 25K + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Social Media...

Day In a Page

Major medical journal Lancet under attack for 'extremist hate propaganda' over its coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Lancet accused of 'anti-Israel hate propaganda' over coverage of Gaza conflict

Threat to free speech as publishers of renowned medical journal are accused of inciting hatred and violence
General Election 2015: Tories and Lib Dems throw their star names west to grab votes

All noisy on the Lib Dems' western front

The party has deployed its big guns in Cornwall to save its seats there. Simon Usborne heads to the heart of the battle
How Etsy became a crafty little earner: The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?

How Etsy became a crafty little earner

The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?
Guy Ritchie is the latest filmmaker to tackle King Arthur - one of our most versatile heroes

King Arthur is inspiring Guy Ritchie

Raluca Radulescu explains why his many permutations - from folk hero to chick-lit hunk - never cease to fascinate
Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations for the man or woman on the street?

Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations?

The Apple Watch has apparently sold millions even before its launch tomorrow
Don't fear the artichoke: it's a good cook's staple, with more choice than you'd think

Don't fear the artichoke

Artichokes are scary - they've got spikes and hairy bits, and British cooks tend to give them a wide berth. But they're an essential and delicious part of Italian cuisine
11 best men's socks

11 best men's socks

Make a statement with your accessories, starting from the bottom up
Paul Scholes column: Eden Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo

Paul Scholes column

Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo
Frank Warren: Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal

Frank Warren's Ringside

Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal
London Marathon 2015: Kenya's brothers in arms Wilson Kipsang and Dennis Kimetto ready to take on world

Kenya's brothers in arms take on world

Last year Wilson Kipsang had his marathon record taken off him by training partner and friend Dennis Kimetto. They talk about facing off in the London Marathon
Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad but it's not because I refuse to fly

Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad

Green leader prefers to stay clear of her 'painful' family memories but is more open about 'utterly unreasonable' personal attacks
Syria conflict: Khorasan return with a fresh influx of fighters awaiting the order to start 'shooting the birds'

Khorasan is back in Syria

America said these al-Qaeda militants were bombed out of the country last year - but Kim Sengupta hears a different story
General Election 2015: Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North for Ukip?

On the campaign trail with Ukip

Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North?
Four rival Robin Hood movies get Hollywood go-head - and Friar Tuck will become a superhero

Expect a rush on men's tights

Studios line up four Robin Hoods productions
Peter Kay's Car Share: BBC show is the comedian's first TV sitcom in a decade

In the driving seat: Peter Kay

Car Share is the comedian's first TV sitcom in a decade. The programme's co-creator Paul Coleman reveals the challenges of getting the show on the road