Sales houses want rigorous approach to TV airtime audits

ITV’s auditor, Rickards, is taking a more rigorous approach to cross-checking media agencies’ TV deals this year in the light of last year’s pounds 1.8 million airtime trading dispute between Laser Sales and CIA Medianetwork.

ITV’s auditor, Rickards, is taking a more rigorous approach to

cross-checking media agencies’ TV deals this year in the light of last

year’s pounds 1.8 million airtime trading dispute between Laser Sales

and CIA Medianetwork.



Agency sources say this situation has led to requests by Rickards to

examine some agencies’ advertising expenditure on other media. The ITV

sales houses are also said to be keen to monitor each other, as the

increasing number of cross-media deals between individual sales houses

and their sister operations in other media blur the true amounts spent

on ITV advertising.



ITV sources said this had raised concerns that such deals could be used

artificially to reduce the amount of money an agency pays to an ITV

sales house, allowing the agency to appear to meet its commitments to

rival sales houses on their share of total ITV expenditure.



All three ITV sales houses, Carlton, Laser and TSMS, are said to be keen

to ensure that transparency is established now, as there will be greater

opportunities to muddy the picture further once the trend towards

trading airtime according to share of total broadcast spend kicks

in.



One ITV sales chief admitted that it was imperative to seek out any

hidden agendas as early as possible. ’Now that share-of-broadcast deals

are more widespread, we need to make sure we’re monitoring spend on

other channels, not just ITV, and making sure that money is not being

hidden in sponsorship deals, for example.



’Our auditors will really have to get to grips with that this time next

year, and I think we’ll see more wrangling then. For the moment,

agencies seem to have taken the warning of the CIA debacle and we don’t

expect any major problems this year.’



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