Auditors hit `innovation’

Media auditors hamper innovative buying of TV airtime because of their emphasis on price at the expense of quality the TV `95 conference was told last week.

Speaking during a panel session on media auditing Lowe Howard-Spink media director Mike Smallwood told delegates that the increasing fragmentation and complexity of the UK TV market means the auditor is holding back media planning and buying.

“The industry needs a lot more vision and a lot less hindsight,” said Smallwood, “present auditing is equivalent to a sailing ship in a supersonic age.”

He accused media auditing of allowing client complacency and allowing agencies to learn how to buy to suit an audit rather than to fulfil communication needs.

He hinted that auditing led to dishonesty within buying departments by encouraging portfolio management and commission manipulation. “We need auditing that looks at true marketing results,” he concluded.

Chief executive of Media Audits Tony Ayers defended his industry, maintaining that auditors provided a second opinion and helped marketers protect and increase their ad budgets.

He also defended auditors’ priorities: “We’ve tried to make it clear to clients that we’re talking about complex issues – not just costs. We try.”

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