Smith clears the way for a single ITV

Advertisers have given a mixed reaction to the government's Communications White Paper, praising the creation of a single regulator for the entire communications industry, but expressing concern over moves to pave the way for a single ITV.

Advertisers have given a mixed reaction to the government's Communications White Paper, praising the creation of a single regulator for the entire communications industry, but expressing concern over moves to pave the way for a single ITV.

In a reaction to the paper, unveiled by culture secretary Chris Smith yesterday (Tuesday), ISBA welcomed the initiative to create a single regulatory body, but also expressed concern at secondary consideration given to advertisers.

Malcolm Earnshaw, ISBA's new director general, said: 'This paper could prove to be an opportunity missed by the government to place advertiser and consumer needs at the centre of the media environment.'

IPA president Rupert Howell said: 'Having a single regulator recognises that there are now global, rather than regional, media players.'

The cornerstone of the White Paper is the creation of Ofcom, which will regulate TV, radio and telephony.

It replaces the Independent Television Commission, Oftel, the Broadcasting Standards Authority and the Radio Authority. It will also be given power to promote competition in the communications sector.

While Ofcom will have some power to investigate complaints about the BBC from viewers and listeners, a large degree of responsibility for ensuring that the BBC meets its public service obligations will remain with BBC governors.

Meanwhile, the 15% limit on TV audience share will be lifted, as will a rule preventing single ownership of the two London ITV licences.

Other plans include dispensing with the radio points system as a means of regulating radio ownership, and a lighter approach toward newspaper mergers.



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