Client confusion hits airtime trading

An underlying ignorance of the media market and of their own media deals is exacerbating advertisers’ concerns about the way that TV is traded, according to delegates at an Incorporated Society of British Advertisers seminar last week.

An underlying ignorance of the media market and of their own media

deals is exacerbating advertisers’ concerns about the way that TV is

traded, according to delegates at an Incorporated Society of British

Advertisers seminar last week.



The seminar, entitled ’TV trading at a cross-roads’, was a debate

between advertisers and the media buying and selling fraternity,

prompted by last year’s TV trading debacle between CIA Medianetwork and

the ITV sales house, Laser Sales.



The dispute threw into relief a number of concerns about the TV market,

such as the issue of transparency between advertiser, agency and media

owner, the structure of agency deals - which group together clients’ ad

budgets to achieve greater discounts - and the Station Average Price

trading mechanism.



Transparency was found to be a key goal for advertisers. The seminar

uncovered a ’considerable uncertainty’ among clients about their

participation in agency deals.



Delegates admitted there was a real need for clients to take media

trading seriously. ISBA is now planning to issue a checklist of key

questions which every advertiser should be asking its agency.



The SAP system of trading airtime - a calculation based on the total

revenue divided by the audience supply - also came under scrutiny.



Delegates recognised the fact that SAP was born out of a monopoly

market, when ITV was the sole supplier of commercial airtime, but felt

that once ITV ceases to be the majority supplier of audience, SAP will

be replaced by other benchmarks, including independent audits of media

performance.



Advertisers also called upon the media owners to shift the emphasis of

their sales propositions away from percentage discounts off SAP to

concentrate on the quality of the product - audiences.



Bob Wootton, the director of media services at ISBA, said: ’To expect

the seminar to resolve these complex issues would have been highly

fanciful, but we’ve started the ball rolling.’



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