NEWS: CIA grabs Tory press work after row

The Conservative Party’s press buying has moved from Optimedia to CIA Medianetwork following a disagreement over how much the company should be paid.

The Conservative Party’s press buying has moved from Optimedia to CIA

Medianetwork following a disagreement over how much the company should

be paid.



M&C Saatchi, which handled the negotiations, rejected Optimedia’s cash

demands and warned the party would go elsewhere unless Optimedia matched

a rival offer.



Optimedia then withdrew and M&C Saatchi switched to CIA, which it had

already sounded out about the Tory business and with whom it has a close

relationship. There was no pitch.



Optimedia has handled Tory press buying since it left Zenith Media last

year, when the party severed its links with Saatchi and Saatchi.



Sources denied that M&C Saatchi was seeking a buyer that would charge

less than commercial rates in order to help the Tories. The agency said

all political parties normally pay ratecard charges for press ads as

newspaper publishers are reluctant to face charges of giving back-door

political donations.



Tory officials said it was too early to estimate the value of the

account. They said the party was likely to have a heavy poster spend in

the run-up to the general election, since the money went further than on

press. Poster buying is handled by Concord.



However, the Tories’ press spend could still run to several million

pounds because party strategists hope to spend around pounds 10 million

on advertising between now and the election, including pounds 5 million

in the three-week campaign before polling day.



Simon Lloyd, chairman of Optimedia, said: ‘We never had a contract with

anybody concerning this business even though we helped M&C Saatchi by

placing ads between December and now.’



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