NEWS: Advertisers to benefit from MAI merger deal

Advertisers will soon be able to take advantage of new commercial opportunities across the Daily Express and Meridian Television after last week’s announcement of the planned merger between MAI and United News and Media.

Advertisers will soon be able to take advantage of new commercial

opportunities across the Daily Express and Meridian Television after

last week’s announcement of the planned merger between MAI and United

News and Media.



The combined group - 50.7 per cent owned by United, with MAI holding the

remaining 49.3 per cent - will offer advertisers group deals across all

of its broadcasting and publishing divisions.



Lord Hollick, the chairman of MAI and the chief executive of the new

company, said that while there would be group opportunities for

advertisers, there would be no conditional selling.



‘We realise that this is a very sensitive area for advertisers and

agencies,’ he said.



Hollick also outlined plans to expand the group’s TV interests into the

cable and satellite arena. He said he wanted to expand into non-

terrestrial TV as a way of using MAI’s programme library and develop

themed channels to cater for niche audiences. MAI has already expressed

interest in Rapture, the youth channel being launched by Rocket Science

and the independent production company, Kudos.



However, Hollick was tight-lipped about his plans for further expansion

within ITV, although Yorkshire Tyne-Tees has been singled out as a

likely target. Carlton Communications, which owns Carlton and Central

Television, is also thought to have been interested in a merger with

MAI, a move that would be of major concern to advertisers because it

would take Carlton well over the current 25 per cent limit on all TV

sales revenue. Carlton’s chief executive, Michael Green, is now

considering his options.



Hollick and his new partner, United News’ Lord Stevens, the chairman of

the as-yet-unnamed company, also outlined their commitment to

developing United’s print interests, including the Daily and Sunday

Express.



Media Forum, p20



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