OFT urges Competition Commission to update CRR

The Office of Fair Trading has today (May 29) advised the Competition Commission (CC) to consider updating ITV’s contract rights renewal (CRR) mechanism.

The OFT says the CC now needs to take into account new forms of delivering the ITV1 schedule, including the development of both a high definition and a potential time shifted channel.

Following a review carried out in conjunction with Ofcom, the OFT says that while ITV1’s market position has declined, it remains almost the only provider of very large commercial audiences, which are of particular value to some advertisers.

The recommendations follows the OFT’s announcement in January that it supported the relaxation of CRR 

OFT chief executive, John Fingleton, says: “Changes in ITV1’s market position and programme delivery since CRR was introduced in 2003 mean it is now time to take another look at it.

“We recommend retaining some protection for advertisers and media buyers so that all parties have an equal playing field in what are challenging economic circumstances.”

The CC will now make the final decision on whether or not changes should be made to CRR.

The mechanism was put in place to protect advertisers following the merger of Carlton and Granada in 2003.

Many advertisers and media agencies still maintain that CRR should continue given ITV’s continued dominance in commercial broadcasting 

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