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
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
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.’