ITV marketing and commercial director Jim Hytner, director of programmes David Liddiment, and chief scheduler David Bergg are to join up with Carlton and Granada sales house chiefs in a tour of the top media agencies and key advertisers to push ITV as a brand, as well as to promote the autumn schedule.
The move, which ITV insiders say is the first time that representatives from both sales houses have joined a team from network centre, comes as Channel 4, the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA) and the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) have lashed out at newspaper reports that Granada and Carlton Communications are to work closer together by pooling back office functions.
However, numerous insiders at ITV and its two main shareholders have played down these reports, saying that Carlton and Granada were aware that legislation prevented a merger of the two companies.
A statement issued by ISBA says: “There are concerns that closer working ties between Carlton and Granada could represent an attempt to ‘merge by stealth’ and that the pooling of operations could lead to information sharing between Carlton and Granada about their advertisers.”
A spokesman for Channel 4 says: “It highlights the need for vigilant regulation to prevent any back-door merger.”