The Incorporated Society of British Advertisers is to reignite its
campaign to open BBC television to advertisers as the funding of the
corporation comes under scrutiny once again.
ISBA, which is preparing its submission to the Davies Committee on the
funding of the BBC, hammered out its plans at a meeting of its
Television Action Group this week and progress was said to be extremely
Although there is still work to be done on the proposals, a degree of
commercial activity across the BBC’s terrestrial channels will form the
foundation of ISBA’s proposition.
ISBA is keen to give advertisers access to the BBC in a bid to alleviate
inflation in the cost of TV airtime. Despite the twin deflationary
pressures brought about by the launch of Channel 5 and recent audience
gains on ITV, advertisers are still looking for TV alternatives to help
keep prices in check.
Bob Wootton, the director of media and advertising affairs at ISBA,
admitted that the issue of advertising on the BBC was ’the most
significant thing on our media action plate. We’re taking it very
seriously and are making very good progress.’
ISBA has argued for some government advertising to be shifted to the BBC
and for limited peak-time advertising such as three minutes a day during
At the same time, advertisers have also called on the Government to
ensure that the BBC sticks to similar commercial restraints as ITV to
ensure that the BBC doesn’t enjoy more commercial freedoms than the ITV
The Davies Committee was unveiled by the culture secretary, Chris Smith,
in January and has a brief to review the BBC’s funding. It is already
agreed that the licence fee will remain in place, but the committee will
examine whether it should be increased or supplemented. Submissions from
interested parties must be in by 31 March.
ISBA is now seeking a meeting with the Institute of Practitioners in
Advertising to encourage agencies to support its proposals. It is keen
for the advertising industry to present a united front.
The IPA has yet to decide on its stance, though some agencies are said
to be concerned that ads on the BBC will mean a fall in the cost of TV
advertising and so a cut in budgets.