Ad industry slams ITV merger ruling

The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), commercial broadcasters and leading media agencies have expressed “disappointment” at a decision to allow the £4.2bn Carlton and Granada merger to go ahead with advertisers being protected only by behavioural restrictions placed on a united sales house.

The Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA) has taken a more conciliatory approach to the announcement by trade secretary Patricia Hewitt yesterday (Tuesday), saying that it welcomes the fact that the merger has not been allowed to proceed unchecked.

One ISBA member, Procter & Gamble head of UK media Bernard Balderston, says: “We are pleased that the Competition Commission and the department of trade and industry have recognised that advertisers are a major issue in the question of whether Carlton and Granada should merge. I think that the remedy being put in place needs a lot of detail to be worked through. Until that is done, we can’t be sure how watertight it is going to be.”

While Hewitt’s decision has been dismissed by many television media buyers as “unworkable” and “ludicrous”, Carlton and Granada have seen their share prices rocket on the back of the most favourable conditions they could have expected.

Hewitt found that the merger…continued on page 7 ©

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