NEWS: Advertisers unite to rekindle TV minutage battle

Advertisers’ frustrations over rising TV prices are set to boil over again next week, as the top spenders prepare a major offensive calling for extra advertising minutage on terrestrial television.

Advertisers’ frustrations over rising TV prices are set to boil over

again next week, as the top spenders prepare a major offensive calling

for extra advertising minutage on terrestrial television.



Leading advertisers, including Unilever, Procter and Gamble and

SmithKline Beecham, are joining forces to lobby afresh for at least two

minutes of advertising airtime per hour on top of the seven currently

allowed.



The aggressive new drive to change the current Independent Television

Commission regulations follows escalating airtime prices on terrestrial

television, which advertisers claim are being perpetuated by falling

audiences.



The issue of extra minutage was raised last year when advertising cost

inflation on ITV hit record levels. Although ITV’s inflation is expected

to be more manageable this year, at around 7 per cent, advertisers’

complaints have been compounded by rising prices on Channel 4.



The Incorporated Society of British Advertisers is expected to put the

issue at the top of its agenda at its media conference next week, under

the title ‘Getting more bang for your media buck’.



John Blakemore, the head of ISBA’s Broadcast Action Group, said that the

issue had never gone away, ‘but now is a good time for us to highlight

it again’.



However, agencies are already warning that in calling for the extra

minutage now, advertisers could be taking a short-term view.



Bill Barker, the broadcast director of J. Walter Thompson, said that

inflation should be alleviated through 1997. ‘Things are looking

brighter for advertisers with Channel 5 increasing the overall supply of

minutage,’ he said.