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Watchdog says that ITV contract rules must stay

THE COMPETITION Commission said yesterday that rules governing how ITV charges advertisers cannot be removed, but could be adapted for the changing market.<br /><br />The contract rights renewal (CRR) system links advertising prices to viewing figures and was introduced in 2003 when ITV formed from a merger of Granada and Carlton.<br /><br />ITV has campaigned to have the rules changed, saying they act as a straitjacket and are not suitable in a market with many digital channels.<br /><br />The watchdog agreed in part, but said the bargaining strength of advertising agencies had still not increased.<br /><br />It suggested proposals including increasing the definition of viewers for ITV1, by including viewers to any new channels such as ITV1 high definition and an ITV1 +1 channel.<br />