Kate Bulkley, Media Analyst.

UKTV sides with Five on call for full review of TV ad market

By Kate Bulkley

Broadcast News

For Broadcast July 15, 2010

UKTV has backed Five’s call for a full review of the TV advertising market as speculation grows that Ofcom is warming to the idea.

UKTV interim chief executive Julia Jordan told the Westminster Media Forum that Ofcom needed to stop “micro-managing” the TV industry with, for example, a focus on the number of TV ad minutes allowed per hour.

“We need to stop this, and instead review the audio-visual medium as a whole,” she said. “We must face up to the environment we are in today and tomorrow, and stop trying to tinker with models that are outdated.”

The possibility of a full review appears to be growing, and ISBA director of media and advertising Bob Wootton said he understood “gentle feelers” have been put out that “a market review may be on the cards”. He said: “The question is how wide it should be, because there is a danger it could spill way beyond broadcasting issues and become completely unwieldy.”

He added that if a review was undertaken, he would want the Competition Commission to be involved, because its role in the CRR review meant it “has a better grasp of how this industry works than any outside adviser before”.

But Competition Commission deputy chairman Diana Guy said Ofcom could decide a full market review was “too difficult”.

She added: “There’s no point doing it unless it’s in-depth, and that takes time. It’s a pity that CRR has been around for three or four years, because [a full market review] might have been a more sensible way forward.”

Ofcom declined to comment.

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