The TV airtime market could be in for its biggest change yet, as Laser
Sales this week announced that it would trade on a client-by-client
basis with CIA Medianetwork in future. The two sides are also due
finally to settle their dispute, with Laser accepting CIA’s
unconditional offer of around pounds 1.8 million.
The statement sparked speculation that the sales house, which represents
Granada, Yorkshire Tyne Tees, LWT and Border, would take a similar
stance with all agencies, effectively scrapping agency deals.
Sources indicated that the sales house was staffing up in preparation
for what is a more labour-intensive trading practice.
A spokesman for Granada TV said of the relationship with CIA: ‘The share
deal didn’t work in 1995 or 1996; client-by-client trading is pretty
likely where we’ll end up.’ He declined to comment on how Laser would
deal with other agencies.
At the same time, CIA confirmed it is in talks with Tony Kenyon, the
managing director of IDK, a 75 per cent CIA-owned subsidiary, about
heading a restructured TV department in the wake of its dispute with
Kenyon’s name has been linked with CIA on a number of occasions, but
this week Mike Tunnicliffe, managing director of CIA Medianetwork,
said: ‘Tony Kenyon has been involved trying to help reach a settlement
in the Laser dispute.’
He added: ‘We are considering asking Kenyon to take responsibility for
all participating CIA group TV negotiations.’
Under Kenyon, a respected name in TV buying, IDK has specialised in
centralised TV buying for a select number of large clients, including BT
As a result of the Laser/CIA row, the ITV sales houses are set to draw
up legally binding contracts with all agencies, without which they will
not be able to buy airtime.