For a long time now, the issue of increased commercial minutage on
TV has been the advertiser’s hobbyhorse. It’s been dismissed as a topic
that can earn marketing directors brownie points with their bosses in
the face of increased pressure on budgets. And, of course, advertisers
don’t really understand the true dynamics of the TV market, do they?
They just hand over the money - it’s the buyers and the sellers who
operate the market.
And the media buyers have, at best, been lukewarm about the minutage
idea, which has made it easier for some of the big players in ITV to
dismiss the issue.
However, agencies are now poised to back the stance taken by the
Incorporated Society of British Advertisers. ISBA is about to make its
submission to the ITC, calling for the existing ceiling of seven minutes
per hour of advertising airtime to be increased to nine minutes.
The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising’s decision seems a
sensible move. The cost of TV advertising has soared, with inflation
against some demographics running at more than 30 per cent. It’s
something the media community should be battling against and, when
clients believe in extra minutage, shouldn’t agencies back their
paymasters? Well, no. Not if extra minutage means shorter programmes,
viewers zapping through ad breaks and less time for the programme
Is the IPA’s new-found enthusiasm for more minutage based on sound
thinking and careful research or on a desire to flatter clients? After
all, it’s hard to disagree with an advertiser such as Procter and Gamble
when it’s one of your most important clients.
Media inflation is a real issue and perhaps extra minutage is one way of
tackling it. But more minutage threatening audience levels certainly
isn’t in anyone’s interests. The IPA’s endorsement will be crucial for
ISBA when it goes to the ITC and we can only hope that the IPA lends its
support for the right reasons.