Media watchdog Ofcom will review the TV advertising market in a move that could drastically alter the way broadcasters such as ITV operate.
Ofcom will examine the way TV advertising is bought and sold and whether the current method prevents, distorts or restricts competition.
It will examine current rules which allow commercial broadcasters more advertising minutes per hour than public service broadcasters.
It will also look into Contract Rights Renewal, a set of rules that were adopted in 2003 when Granada Television and Carlton Television merged to form a single ITV.
It was designed to ensure that advertisers and their agencies were not put at a competitive disadvantage when negotiating advertising contracts. Contract Rights Renewal also gives advertisers an opportunity to reduce their commitments to ITV if its share of commercial impacts fall.
However, the broadcast landscape has shifted dramatically since 2003 and looks set to be revolutionised by the advent of connected TV.
If Ofcom discovers “cause for concern,” it will pass the matter to the Competition Commission for a full-scale review.