Between the Lines: Thinkbox succumbs to ITV

When the idea of a TV marketing body was first mooted, there were plenty of cynics who swore politics and the collective ITV ego would kill off the idea before it was born. The recent appointment of the much-respected Tess Alps as the body's first chief executive looked likely to silence the cynics once and for all.

But IDS's decision to pull out this week is a serious body blow (page 5). It's not so much because Thinkbox will miss the weight of IDS's support; after all, IDS is one of the smaller players in the TV sales market. More damaging are the reasons cited by IDS for its withdrawal.

In a letter to agencies, the sales director, James Wildman, criticises Thinkbox's decision to "bow to" ITV's demands for a bigger say in the running of the marketing body. Yes, ITV is desperate to promote the benefits of TV right now (as its ad revenue performance, outlined on page 2, underlines). But in throwing its weight around at Thinkbox, it recalls the worst days of ITV's sales, when the greater good of the medium was the last thing on the minds of senior ITV executives.

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