TV airtime deals for 1998 could be delayed and the market plunged
into turmoil as a revolt against ITV’s new sales policy takes hold among
some key media buying points.
The problem is ITV’s new policy of pushing for airtime deals based on
the proportion of total television spend agencies are willing to commit
to ITV. Sales houses have discussed the change in tactics with the
Independent Television Commission.
Traditionally, the three ITV sales houses, Carlton, Laser and TSMS, have
fought among themselves for a share of advertisers’ ITV spend, sometimes
encouraging buyers to commit more money to rival channels as long as
they themselves take a greater share of ITV spend.
ITV bosses now see ’share of broadcast’ deals as a way of ensuring more
money stays in the ITV pot. Speculation that they have agreed which
sales house should sell the notion of share of broadcast to particular
buying points, however, has been denied.
A number of media agencies are fiercely opposed to the new sales policy,
claiming that it is too inflexible. Russell Boyman, the broadcast
director of Mediapolis, said: ’If opposition means a much later-dealt
market and no brands on air on ITV in January, then that is a small
Nick Theakstone, the broadcast director of MediaVest, said: ’Our aim is
to help fulfil our clients’ marketing requirements and we wouldn’t sign
up to share of broadcast deals if they prohibited us from doing
However, senior ITV sales people argue buyers are simply worried that
share of broadcast deals will undermine some agencies’ practice of
spending less money on the premium ITV channel in order to make their
overall TV deals appear cheaper.
They also claim ITV’s more bullish approach follows the revolution at
the Network Centre under its new chief executive, Richard Eyre, which
will mean a stronger ITV schedule.