Media shops oppose ITV airtime sale policy

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.

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

sacrifice.’



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

that.’



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.



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