CIA has agreed to pay a sum of money equivalent to that which the ITV
sales house, Laser Sales, claims it is owed for 1995 TV airtime into an
escrow account, while the two parties work out what the final bill will
be and conditions under which it will be paid.
But CIA is now understood to be considering suing Laser for libel and
damages for any business lost as a result of the dispute.
CIA is also asking the Independent Television Commission to help solve
Until agreement is reached, the money, minus 15 per cent agency
commission, will be held in the escrow account.
An official statement from CIA confirmed: ‘Following further discussions
with Laser Sales we have proposed various means of resolving our dispute
over prior years’ trading, including that the matter be put before an
independent body, such as the ITC, for arbitration.
‘We believe such arbitration represents a fair means of enabling a
resolution to be reached impartially. We are prepared to be bound by
whatever decision is reached and have offered to deposit pounds 832,453
of CIA Group funds into an escrow account to be used in part or whole
against the arbitrated settlement.’
The dispute between CIA, the UK’s sixth largest media buyer, and Laser,
came to a head this week when Laser’s broadcaster clients instructed
solicitors to issue proceedings against CIA. The dispute does not affect
bookings with the CIA sister companies, IDK Media and CDP Media.
Laser claims that CIA owes pounds 785,081 to Yorkshire Tyne Tees, pounds
115,201 to LWT, pounds 74,722 to Granada and pounds 4,353 to Border. The
money owed to YTT is particularly significant because Ward Thomas, the
chairman of YTT, recently accused Laser of failing to deliver to YTT a
promised percentage of ITV revenue. Laser is now said to be under
pressure to pull in more money on the station.
A statement from Laser said: ‘On the basis that this dispute remains
unresolved, on 1 January 1997, the broadcasters will withdraw credit
listing and agency commission payments from CIA.’
Laser sent letters to CIA clients informing them of the dispute, and
also claiming that the agency had requested significant hikes in its
clients’ airtime costs to help pay back the money.
However, Mike Tunnicliffe, CIA’s managing director, claimed that the
Laser letter contained ‘a significant number of inaccuracies’ and that
‘Laser has been asking us since July to re-price our clients’ airtime by
amounts we consider unacceptable’.
A Laser spokesman said: ‘We completely stand by the terms of the
The spokesman added that the CIA offer was to be put before the