Will TV Intermediation Hit ITV ?

The UK's largest commercial broadcaster is on a roll wit the introduction of product placement being possible from today and the potential abolition of contract rights renewal (CRR), which limits the charges ITV can make for airtime and forces it to emphasise the size rather than the quality of the audience it delivers.

I have long argued that the CRR is a hangover from the days when a commercial TV station was famously called 'a licence to print money' and punishes targeted programming and channels. However, the quid pro quo of this is that ITV is likely to be allowed to show fewer ads. This may seem like a setback to the broadcaster, but the industry reckons that they will end up ten per cent ahead.

I have recently heard rumours that ITV is to resurrect its ITV Local initiative (which used my former company's technology and was said to have reached a substantial turnover and profitability before being inexplicably cut off). Again, this is probably due to neutralising the potential competition from Johnson Press and others who are going after the Local Television Initiative.

Progress by the new management team at ITV is impressive, but the road ahead remains far from clear in a world where everyone wants to become a television middle man. Will players like Samsung, LG and Philips become competitors or valuable allies. It's a question the company needs to address rapidly.