UK advertisers are working on explosive proposals that could
fundamentally overhaul the way television advertising campaigns are
bought. The initiative could pose a serious threat to ITV and finally do
away with Station Average Price.
The Incorporated Society of British Advertisers is thrashing out
proposals to challenge the television airtime trading mechanism and
replace it with airtime deals based on the audience performance of
commercial television channels.
Airtime on most TV channels is currently costed on a supply-and-demand
principle, based around the Station Average Price mechanism. The result
on ITV has been periods of high airtime inflation, with too many
advertisers chasing too few viewers.
A memo to ISBA’s TV Action Group, leaked to Campaign, states: ’The time
has come to challenge this basis of trading which has arguably served
some broadcasters - particularly the largest suppliers of commercial
audiences - better than it has served advertisers.’
At the same time, many advertisers are trying to resist pressure to
commit a fixed share of their total television expenditure to TV
channels which do not have to make similar guarantees in terms of
Now ISBA is recommending that its members encourage their media agencies
to couple the share of expenditure to broadcasters’ audience performance
against relevant target audiences.
According to the memo, written by ISBA’s director of media and
advertising affairs, Bob Wootton, the proposals ’will help finally to
move the whole UK TV marketplace to a system in which advertisers can
negotiate with all broadcasters on the merits of their individual needs
and the broadcasters’ ability to meet those needs’.
Wootton said the document was still for discussion only, but that it
should make people think again about TV deals. ’The key is that it moves
the conversation on from using Station Average Price as a whipping boy.
This is the next step.’
One leading advertiser said: ’As advice to unsophisticated clients, it’s
sensible enough - but more sophisticated clients are also interested in
addressing issues such as coverage and frequency and position in break.’