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Watchdog hits ITV hopes

ITV was yesterday dealt a blow by the Competition Commission, after it said it would retain tight rules on advertising slot prices, ignoring the broadcaster&rsquo;s pleas to scrap a complex regime on how much it charges advertisers.<br /><br />The ruling is a setback for ITV, which was formed by the merger of Granada and ITV in 2003. <br /><br />The rules exist to cut the risk of any monopoly the merger might have allowed.<br /><br />The regulator said it would only make amendments to the rules, and not scrap them entirely, as ITV still has huge power over advertisers. The channel commands 40 per cent of the commercial TVaudience.<br /><br />Only cosmetic changes will be allowed, the commission said, and they have yet to be decided.<br /><br />Under the rules, ITV1 has had to charge rates pegged to pre-merger levels, hitting its revenues.