Channel 4 and Publicis Media in ad price row

The dispute, which could cost the broadcaster millions per week, comes nearly six years after a similar spat with WPP.

Channel 4 and Publicis Media in ad price row

Talks between Channel 4 and Publicis Media have reportedly broken down over a dispute that would cost the broadcaster tens of millions of pounds in lost revenue a week.

Jonathan Allan, Channel 4’s chief commercial officer, has written to Publicis Media clients directly about the failure to agree a new deal in time for 1 January.

Allan’s letter has warned the deal’s failure would mean Publicis Media clients, such as GlaxoSmithKline and Samsung, would not be able to advertise across the broadcaster’s 26 linear TV channels and three video on-demand platforms. 

The dispute comes nearly six years after WPP’s Group M, the UK’s biggest media buyer, pulled its clients off the broadcaster during the first two weeks in January 2013. 

The current stand-off with Publicis appears to centre on the structure of the proposed deal, which would, for the first time, link the media buyer's prices to its overall cash investment. Publicis Media, however, wants its buy prices to be linked to audience share. 

Allan told Campaign: "We have put forward a very competitive proposal to Publicis and will continue our discussions to hopefully reach an agreement that suits both parties."

Publicis Media is the UK’s third-biggest media-buying group and spends about £125m a year with Channel 4. The deal would not affect Procter & Gamble because the FMCG giant has a separate arrangement with the broadcaster.

As well as the Channel 4 family of channels, Channel 4 also sells ad space for BT Sport and the UKTV portfolio, which includes Dave and W.

Publicis Media did not respond to a request for comment.

Separately, Channel 4 chief executive Alex Mahon has announced that the broadcaster is hiring a chief marketing officer to replace Dan Brooke, who announced his departure as chief marketing and communications officer earlier this month.

4Creative chief Alice Tonge and head of marketing James Walker will report to the new chief marketing officer, while Allan is currently leading Channel 4’s marketing on an interim basis. 

Channel 4 is also hiring a managing director of nations and regions next year as it prepares to move about 300 staff members to its new headquarters in Leeds and its creative hubs in Bristol and Glasgow. The rest of its 800 staff are expected to remain in London.


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