ITV threatens ISBA with legal action

Relations between ITV and the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers hit an all-time low this week amid suggestions that ISBA could be sued for defamation by the ITV network.

Relations between ITV and the Incorporated Society of British

Advertisers hit an all-time low this week amid suggestions that ISBA

could be sued for defamation by the ITV network.



ISBA has sent its members a letter asking for support in its campaign

for more advertising airtime on ITV. But ITV is taking legal advice over

the letter’s contents, which it has said are grossly misleading and

defamatory and could materially damage ITV’s business. The letter sets

out the issues of TV inflation and touches on areas such as advertising

on the BBC.



ISBA is asking clients to supply evidence of how debilitating TV airtime

inflation is and has even told advertisers there will be a PR drive

behind clients who shift spend away from ITV and into other media.



ITV’s chief executive, Richard Eyre, described the letter as

’inflammatory’, adding: ’It’s misleading in so far as it doesn’t give

the context to ITV inflation, which is in the most part driven by

increased commercial competition, which has itself been beneficial to

advertisers.’



Eyre said the impatience of some advertisers to reduce airtime prices at

all costs could spoil the open relationship ITV has been trying to

develop with its commercial customers. ’There are some encouraging signs

that ITV’s performance is improving - we’ve won the last three Saturday

evenings against the BBC - and I’m making real headway with encouraging

our shareholders to support advertisers’ concerns. I think this is a

major own-goal by ISBA.’



ISBA’s media spokesman, Bob Wootton, said: ’This has been interpreted as

more hostile than we believe it is.’



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