TV chiefs agree on funding of industry marketing body

LONDON - The TV industry is finally getting its own marketing body to promote the benefits of TV advertising, after broadcasters this week agreed to fund a full-blown marketing bureau.

The industry has reached agreement on the funding formula, budget and objectives of the organisation; an operating structure will be put in place within a few months.

One of its first tasks will be to come up with a new name -- it is unlikely that TAB (the TV Advertising Bureau, a working name) will be used as it is considered too similar to its radio rival, the Radio Advertising Bureau.

Prospects for the body had looked gloomy after earlier negotiations between the commercial TV stations reached a stalemate. Talks stalled when the major TV stations refused to fund the organisation based on their share of net advertising revenue. This would have meant that ITV would have contributed more than half of the costs, while still having only the same voting rights as its much smaller rivals such as Turner Broadcasting.

Driving the different broadcasting interests into consensus is seen as a triumph for Andy Barnes, the Channel 4 sales director, who initially took responsibility for chairing the body.

As well as the majority of the commercial TV stations, the Advertising Producers Association, the body representing commercials production companies, will also be involved in TAB.

Steve Davies, the chief executive of the APA, said he had been in discussions with the individual commercial TV stations since the beginning of 2003 about making a contribution towards promoting TV as a medium. While the APA has not been asked to contribute financially to the organisation, Davies said it would be providing "ideas and research".

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