Agencies continue to support CRR

Agencies remain convinced that ITV’s Contracts Rights Renewal (CRR) mechanism must be kept, despite constant lobbying for its removal from ITV executive chairman Michael Grade. The views were made to the The Ofcom Office of the Adjudicator as part of its annual review of CRR.

In its submission to the report, the†Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) reveals that agencies believe that CRR is still needed to prevent ITV from exploiting its dominance. There†are still concerns that the broadcaster has “worked out the limit” of what it can do before agencies will call in the adjudicator and “invariably operates on that limit”. This has also led agencies to believe that ITV’s recent strict policy of following the rules could have an “ulterior purpose”.

The IPA further noted that some agencies had reported that the ITV sales team were increasingly linking negotiations on their digital channels with their targets for ITV1 and that it is “significantly” raising prices on the digital channels year on year, if negotiations on the main channel were not going well.

The CRR mechanism was put in place in 2003 to protect advertisers against an over dominant ITV following the merger of Carlton and Granada.

The Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA) says CRR is “working well” and the scheme continues to provide a “positive impetus for ITV to optimise its audience, to advertisers’ benefit”. It says ITV’s continuing dominant position, at about 45% across its channel portfolio, necessitates continued regulatory intervention.

The report says it mediated in three disputes in the 12 months to April, one where it found in favour of the complainant and two in favour of ITV. The number of disputes is the same as in the previous year.

Grade has been vocal in his opposition of CRR, claiming at the ISBA annual conference last month that with the mechanism in place wholesale change at the broadcaster was impossible. He is urging agencies and advertisers to back its call for the remedy to be scrapped and replaced with less commercially damaging measures.

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