NEWS: Industry fears EU direct-sell threat

Advertising lobbyists are preparing a counter offensive to protect Europe’s off-the-page ads industry from what they claim will be its virtual annihilation by European MPs and the loss of thousands of jobs.

Advertising lobbyists are preparing a counter offensive to protect

Europe’s off-the-page ads industry from what they claim will be its

virtual annihilation by European MPs and the loss of thousands of jobs.



A European parliamentary committee in Brussels dealt a body blow to the

industry on Tuesday, when it approved severe restrictions on cold

calling and dashed hopes that financial services would not be included

in the new curbs.



The European Publishers Council, representing 28 of the Continent’s

leading news-paper and magazine publishers, warned that the latest moves

‘sound the death knell of the distance-selling industry’.



It also fears the possible highly damaging effect on its members’

subscriptions, which are dependent on telephone sales.



Sir Frank Rogers, the council’s chairman, accused the Euro MPs of

‘flying in the face of commercial reality’.



Philip Circus, legal affairs director at the Institute of Practitioners

in Advertising, declared: ‘This is just one of the obstacles advertising

can expect to face from a left-wing biased Euro Parliament.’



Meanwhile, Lionel Stanbrook, the Advertising Association’s political

affairs director, claimed that ‘hundreds of thousands’ of jobs could be

lost if the restrictions were adopted throughout the European Union.



The proposed Distance Selling Directive stops short of an outright ban

on cold calling, but restricts contracts made over the phone by allowing

a ‘cooling-off’ period, during which credit card customers would be

allowed to change their minds.



The AA and the Federation of European Direct Marketeers is planning to

appeal to the Euro MPs to think again. The IPA is also monitoring the

situation closely. Nick Phillips, its director general, said: ‘We must

guard against anything that’s a threat to through-the-line flexibility.’



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