ITV has made a number of moves to encourage brands to book advertising over the next few weeks as the coronavirus crisis starts to freeze up parts of the TV market.
It has emerged that the broadcaster’s managing director of commercial, Kelly Williams, wrote to clients on 20 March to notify them that late booking fees have been axed and that new bookings of campaigns to run in March and April would benefit from a "30% extra free" offer.
ITV has pitched the offer as delivering brands £1.30 worth of advertising value in return for £1 of spend, which is equivalent to a 23% discount. It applies across all ITV linear channels and video-on-demand.
The broadcaster last dropped late booking fees in summer 2019, when it was responding to challenging conditions in the TV ad market, but reinstated them in October. However, the effect of coronavirus on advertising demand has been of a different magnitude, with ITV having told the City on 23 March that its April ad revenue expectations, which had been for a 10% drop, had further deteriorated.
With some clients seeking to make lead times as short as possible in order to maintain the ability to react to the quickly changing environment, ITV is also seeking to raise awareness of its ad production capacity, which is priced "at cost" and is normally only used by smaller regional advertisers that do not have their own ad agencies.
It is also allowing advertisers to defer campaigns as long as they are pre-paid and recommitted into this calendar year, and cancelling charges for altering air dates and ad lengths.
Last week, it emerged that Channel 4 has cut late booking fees until the end of May and reduced its advanced booking deadlines from eight to four weeks. ITV’s advanced booking deadlines remain at six to eight weeks depending on contractual arrangements.
Earlier this month, Campaign reported that viewers for ITV daytime shows have surged as more people stayed at home. This Morning, Loose Women, Good Morning Britain and Lorraine all posted increases in audiences.