Advertisers baulk at paying ASA's self-regulation levy

LONDON - The system for regulating TV and radio advertising is under threat before it launches because advertisers are unwilling to pay the running costs.

Following Ofcom's decision last month to hand regulation of broadcast advertising to the Advertising Standards Authority, ISBA and the IPA agreed that there should be a 0.1% levy on the media value of TV and radio campaigns to cover administration. IPA members will apply the charge to all TV and radio bookings from August 1.

Although this levy, payable as part of the extension of the ASA's remit, is nominally voluntary, some agencies are having difficulties persuading clients, particularly those with larger ad budgets, to pay the additional cost.

Reports have emerged of advertisers asking both media owners and their agencies to foot the bill.

There is also concern that some media agencies are not geared up to make the necessary arrangements to invoice clients. The IPA has written to agencies imploring them to be ready for the change.

Jim Marshall, the chairman of the IPA media futures group, was still adamant that self-regulation would work. He said: "It'll be crazy if we didn't make it work because self-regulation is something that the industry has been striving for. Our only concern is that the administration of the system is going to be quite a demand on the agencies."

Winston Fletcher, the Advertising Standards Board of Finance's chairman, said: "ISBA's director-general has pointed out that advertisers have unanimously agreed to pay the levy."

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