Regulator OKs new ITV channels, fails to endorse ad changes

British commercial broadcaster ITV has been given the green light to launch two new channels – a time-shifted channel and a high definition channel – following a report by The Competition Commission. However, the network has slammed the commission for not agreeing to wide ranging changes to the system of contract rights renewal (CRR), the way in which advertising is sold.

The report agreed to a number of small changes that would allow a time-shifted channel and an HD channel to come under the regulations, but CRR, which was introduced in 2003, will essentially remain the same.

Diana Guy, deputy chairman of the Competition Commission, said: “We found there is a strong case for widening the definition of ITV1 in the CRR undertakings to include both ITV+1 and ITV1 HD and this has been largely supported by ITV and other parties. We believe that this change will go a considerable way towards reducing the unintended costs to ITV of the current system.”

However, ITV said in a statement: “CRR distorts the market and the fundamental relationship between advertisers and free-to-air broadcasters.”