ITV can look forward to relief from its most onerous regulation after Jeremy Hunt, the culture secretary, said changes in government responsibility gave him power to reform or abolish it.
After telling a London audience that he was unsympathetic to contract rights renewal – a limit on how much ITV can charge advertisers for its airtime – Hunt said it was himself, not the business secretary, who had power to remove it.
Hunt said the timetable for change would be linked to the planned Communications Act, which he hopes to have enacted by the end of 2012.
Previously, his desire to scrap or reform CRR has been hampered by the fact that it is part of a complex pattern of competition law, which was the responsibility of Vince Cable, the business secretary. Hunt revealed that responsibility had transferred to himself just before Christmas.
CRR is estimated to cost ITV tens of millions in advertising revenues every year.