Ofcom published, on 10 June 2011, its consultation document in relation to a market investigation to establish whether the manner in which TV advertising is currently traded in the UK prevents, restricts or distorts competition, and whether this has a harmful effect on consumers. If Ofcom concludes that it has sufficient competition concerns it will decide whether to make a market investigation reference to the CC.
The areas identified by Ofcom as being of particular concern are transparency of pricing; the bundling of airtime, which may limit switching; and barriers preventing the development of the trading model (which has not altered significantly in nearly 20 years).
Comments on Ofcom’s analysis are to be provided by 22 July 2011. Ofcom then intends to publish a statement in the autumn of 2011, outlining either its decision to make a reference to the CC or the reasons why a reference has not been made.