Advertisers have lobbied the Government to keep the Contracts Rights Renewal status quo in a series of “fact finding” meetings this week.
Some say stronger measures are needed, rather than the relaxation of rules that ITV executive chairman Michael Grade wants.
Big spending advertisers, the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA) and the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) have met with officials from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), which began a review of CRR with media regulator Ofcom in January.
Grade has attempted to make a case that the “punitive” measures the mechanism imposes makes it impossible for the broadcaster to implement wholesale change as well as commoditising TV sales and programme-making. Following a rousing speech at the ISBA conference last March, Grade found support for his “son of CRR” among the advertising and media fraternity, but some supporters have since changed their minds.
One senior advertiser says he is concerned that ITV is making CRR “work” in its favour – this year every pound lost from ITV1 is expected to be respent across its digital portfolio (MW last week).
Both ISBA and the IPA are also understood to be submitting written responses stating CRR is still needed and that ITV still enjoys a position of dominance that without CRR it could abuse. All advertisers contacted by Marketing Week following their meetings with the OFT said they agreed with this vito.
However, an ITV source says “at least one” advertiser has written in favour of scrapping CRR.