Advertisers will soon be able to take advantage of new commercial
opportunities across the Daily Express and Meridian Television after
last week’s announcement of the planned merger between MAI and United
News and Media.
The combined group - 50.7 per cent owned by United, with MAI holding the
remaining 49.3 per cent - will offer advertisers group deals across all
of its broadcasting and publishing divisions.
Lord Hollick, the chairman of MAI and the chief executive of the new
company, said that while there would be group opportunities for
advertisers, there would be no conditional selling.
‘We realise that this is a very sensitive area for advertisers and
agencies,’ he said.
Hollick also outlined plans to expand the group’s TV interests into the
cable and satellite arena. He said he wanted to expand into non-
terrestrial TV as a way of using MAI’s programme library and develop
themed channels to cater for niche audiences. MAI has already expressed
interest in Rapture, the youth channel being launched by Rocket Science
and the independent production company, Kudos.
However, Hollick was tight-lipped about his plans for further expansion
within ITV, although Yorkshire Tyne-Tees has been singled out as a
likely target. Carlton Communications, which owns Carlton and Central
Television, is also thought to have been interested in a merger with
MAI, a move that would be of major concern to advertisers because it
would take Carlton well over the current 25 per cent limit on all TV
sales revenue. Carlton’s chief executive, Michael Green, is now
considering his options.
Hollick and his new partner, United News’ Lord Stevens, the chairman of
the as-yet-unnamed company, also outlined their commitment to
developing United’s print interests, including the Daily and Sunday
Media Forum, p20