ITV blasts ISBA’s plans to overhaul TV trading

ITV has hit back at moves by the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers to overhaul the TV airtime trading system, claiming the plan would force ITV to squeeze its commercial rivals rather than attack the BBC.

ITV has hit back at moves by the Incorporated Society of British

Advertisers to overhaul the TV airtime trading system, claiming the plan

would force ITV to squeeze its commercial rivals rather than attack the

BBC.



In a memo leaked to Campaign last week, it emerged that ISBA was

proposing a new system of TV trading based on channels’ audience

delivery rather than the traditional station average price

mechanism.



Now ITV sales houses have launched their own salvo against the plans,

insisting that the result of trying to impose such a trading base would

be to increase competition among the commercial channels, rather than

freeing ITV to fight the BBC in an attempt to increase the total

commercial audience.



Mick Desmond, the chief executive of Granada Media Sales, said: ’This

time last year, ISBA was lobbying ITV to be more aggressive against the

BBC. It’s ironic now that these new proposals almost encourage ITV to

run its guns away from the BBC and back on to Channel 4, Channel 5 and

satellite TV to ensure we increase our share of commercial impacts.’



Steve Platt, the managing director of Carlton UK Sales, also took issue

with the ISBA stance. ’It’s appalling that ISBA is telling its members

not to pay extra for something of superior quality. People spend money

with us because ITV works. We don’t force them. Clearly ISBA needed a

cause this autumn and this is all it could come up with.’



Platt said that advertisers should be encouraged to focus their

attention on moves to increase the commercial audience, for example, by

supporting ITV’s attempts to move News at Ten.



However, a number of senior clients are understood to have thrown their

weight behind ISBA moves to overhaul trading and are discussing it with

their agencies.



ISBA had already warned members of its TV Action Group that the idea

would be unpopular with broadcasters ’who have benefited from demanding

fixed shares of TV expenditure in return for variable (often falling)

shares of audience delivery’.



Media Forum, p18.



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