Following the OFT request in May this year, the CC has published for consultation its provisional decision on a review of ITV’s Contracts Rights Renewal (CRR) undertakings. The undertakings were given in 2003 as a condition of the merger between Carlton Communications Plc and Granada Plc. The OFT had requested a review of the undertakings to establish whether or not circumstances had changed sufficiently to warrant their variation or removal. In its provisional decision, the CC considered that the situation had not changed substantially enough to justify ITV’s release from the undertakings, however, it highlighted that there may be scope for alteration.
The CC is, therefore, seeking views on possible variations to the undertakings, including widening the definition of ITV1 to include any ITV+1, or ITV1 High Definition channel that ITV decides to launch, and appropriate ways to deal with the decline of the market position of ITV1. It is also seeking views on alternative ways of dealing with any unintended competition concerns which may have arisen as a result of the CRR undertakings in practice. The CC is due to publish its final decision at the end of the year.