ISBA to pressure BBC to carry ads

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.

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

positive.



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

peak hours.



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

network.



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.



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