Yorkshire Tyne Tees Television has threatened to dump its airtime sales
house, Laser Sales, after accusing the operation of failing to maximise
the value of YTTV’s commercial airtime.
YTTV has suggested that Laser, which is owned by Granada Group, was
under-performing on YTTV’s advertising revenue in a bid to drive down
the price of the station on the stock market.
Granada is said to be keen to mount a takeover of YTTV once the 1996
Broadcasting Act goes through. It already has a 24 per cent stake in
YTTV following a dawn raid earlier this year.
Ward Thomas, chairman of YTTV, said Laser was not delivering the level
of advertising revenue for YTTV stipulated in its contract. He said the
station’s advertising sales performance was ‘very disappointing’, adding
that ‘our half-year advertising revenue is well short of budget’.
Thomas suggested that YTTV’s share of total TV revenue should be a
minimum of 10.9 per cent, according to its contract with Laser. Instead,
its share is currently running at 10.22 per cent.
However, observers have said that YTTV’s advertising performance has not
been as poor as some other ITV stations outside London. Also, revenue
shares for the southern ITV stations have been bolstered by massive
spends from sectors such as telecomms, which have not been spending so
heavily in other regions. Thomas’s attack has been described in some
quarters as purely ‘political’.
Mick Desmond, the chief executive of Laser, which handles airtime sales
for Granada, London Weekend Television, Border and YTTV, said that all
business between Laser and YTTV was confidential.
The attack came as YTTV announced an increase in pre-tax profits from
pounds 7.4 million to pounds 13.3 million for the six months to 30 June.
Advertising revenue was up from pounds 81.8 million to pounds 84.6