Channel 4 and Mars in rates row

With Channel 5 and Carat at loggerheads, another national broadcaster is holding out against one of the UK’s most prolific advertisers.

With Channel 5 and Carat at loggerheads, another national

broadcaster is holding out against one of the UK’s most prolific

advertisers.



Channel 4 and Mars - the seventh biggest advertiser in the country -

have failed to agree a new annual deal, due to begin in April. Channel 4

is taking a firm stance on its prices in the same way Channel 5 has

done.



Mars, which would generally spend pounds 10-15 million a year with

Channel 4, now faces a prolonged absence. Even if one side climbs down

and agreement is reached, Mars will not get on the channel until May at

the earliest.



And the situation is being exacerbated for the advertiser. BSkyB has

joined the crusade against cheap airtime for fmcgs by capping the amount

of Mars money it will accept at 20 per cent below last year’s rate. Sky

has put a similar restriction on Unilever and has the same plans for

Procter & Gamble. The broadcaster has yet to begin its negotiations with

P&G for the next fiscal year.



A source said: ’Mars has trouble because no-one wants its money. The

days of channels being held to ransom by fmcgs are over. The new players

in the market have changed all that.’



Sources said that Zenith has been seeking a heavy discount from Channel

4, following Mars’s decision to centralise its business into the agency

last year. However, the channel, which is being buoyed by dotcom

advertisers, no longer needs to accept the demands and has walked away

from talks.



Meanwhile, contrary to some press reports, the stand-off between Channel

5 and Carat shows no sign of resolution. At the level of spending Carat

is proposing, the channel is refusing to give the agency a greater

discount than the industry norm, which is about 35 per cent off ITV

station average price.



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