Stuart Smith on Gary Digby and ITV

Say what you like about him, veteran ITV sales director and professional rough diamond Gary Digby will be sorely missed.

One rival put it this way: “Media buyers will now see ITV as an easier place to do their negotiations and will expect to save millions.”

Digby has been closely associated with ITV’s Lazarus-like commercial recovery last year that saw it make about £1.55bn from ad revenue in 2010, an increase of more than 15%.

Fru Hazlitt, the new ITV commercial director who did the booting, evidently sees the root-and-branch restructuring of the sales department as a vital prerequisite to streamlining ITV’s analogue and digital offer. But the media buying community has a different take on things: Kelly Williams (ex-Channel 5) and the rest of the Hazlitti imports are going to be a push-over in comparison with the Digby regime.

I wouldn’t like to be drawn into speculation as to how weak the ITV ratecard will be from now on, but if relief is ever needed in the ITV Alamo, then the cavalry is on its way.

Jeremy Hunt – the newly empowered government media tsar and part-time culture secretary – has signalled that he intends to abolish Contract Rights Renewal, the advertiser-friendly sales corset that squeezes tens of millions of pounds off ITV’s revenue line every year. The only trouble is that some waiting is involved before the relief arrives. Hunt intends to bundle repeal of the hated constraint into the Communications Bill, which may, or may not, become law by the end of next year.

We can only guess what Hunt’s motives are, but some suspect that the CRR gesture may be connected to his role in adjudicating on the Murdochs’ bid for the 61% of BSkyB they do not already own. After all, what could be more even-handed than to wave through both measures? Strictly in the interests of media plurality, you understand.

Latest from Marketing Week

NOT REGISTERED? IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here