NEWS: Industry split over bid to rejig trading

The CIA/Laser dispute has split the industry over the issue of whether the TV airtime trading system requires a complete overhaul.

The CIA/Laser dispute has split the industry over the issue of whether

the TV airtime trading system requires a complete overhaul.



Talks have already begun to find a trading mechanism that will not be

easily subject to abuse (Campaign, last week).



One agency chief said the dispute set a precedent. ‘Does this mean I can

now invoice Laser for any money it owes my clients at the end of the

year?’. Another insisted: ‘If Mick Desmond [the chief executive of

Laser] fudges this, he’s signalling that a deal is not a deal.’



John Storey, the joint managing director of Media Audits, said: ‘If the

case goes to court, it will be good for the industry as it will force

transparency in trading and remove destabilising factors. The industry

would benefit from a more open dealing structure and in our opinion this

dispute has created a catalyst to achieve this.’



However, Melvin Jay, the marketing director of CIA’s client, Sandoz

Nutrition (formerly Wander Foods), said: ‘The situation reflects very

badly on the sales houses. When I received the letter [see story,

right], I felt angry and antagonised. Our loyalty is with our business

partner, the agency.’



Some buyers have blamed advertisers and auditors for the situation. One

said: ‘Too often business is awarded on the basis of discounts.’



But Christine Walker, the chief executive of Zenith Media, said: ‘Why

should the market change because one buyer and seller have fallen out?

We trade well, thank you very much.’



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