NEWS: Bowley champions station price

A leading ITV sales figure has responded to recent calls for a new currency for buying and selling TV airtime by launching a staunch defence of the status quo.

A leading ITV sales figure has responded to recent calls for a new

currency for buying and selling TV airtime by launching a staunch

defence of the status quo.



Martin Bowley, the managing director of Carlton UK Sales, told delegates

at a Haymarket media conference last week that station average price is

the only workable method of buying TV advertising airtime.



The currency, which is calculated by dividing the total advertising

revenue by the total audience taken by each TV station, has come under

the spotlight in recent months as a result of the dispute between the

ITV sales house, Laser Sales, and CIA Medianetwork.



Bowley called on the advertising industry to look at the issue with open

eyes, and insisted that people should not confuse the current concern

over share-of-ITV revenue deals with the SAP trading currency.



‘Trading against station price is an enormous safety net,’ Bowley said.

‘If it is made to work, it offers a huge amount of protection.’ He

added: ‘Station price is merely a system for pricing airtime - it does

not write the rules on how deals are done.’



According to Bowley, the alternative to SAP - fixed prices - could mean

higher TV inflation and sustained higher prices. It would also require

advertising plans to be set in stone up front and limited late access to

the market.



He went on to warn that even if SAP isn’t specifically traded against,

it will always be calculated, or estimated, by auditors, agencies and

advertisers.



Delegates at the conference, entitled the Emperor’s New Clothes, also

heard Martin Sorrell, the chief executive of WPP, give voice to his

belief in the need for volume players in the media market.



Speculation is mounting that WPP is planning to combine the buying might

of its two main agencies - J. Walter Thompson and Ogilvy and Mather.

Speaking last week, Sorrell said: ‘Volume is important; in media owners’

eyes it is critical.’



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