Carlton UK Sales is appointing ex-Laser chief Jane Stewart as a consultant, signalling a new battle between London’s ITV sales houses.
Stewart is on a contract to work two days a week, prompting agency speculation that she has been hired to brief Carlton about the inner workings of Laser’s sales operation. “She knows where the bodies are buried,” says one TV buying director.
Stewart was one of two sales directors made redundant in July after Laser overhauled its sales department.
“The London market will be very competitive this year,” says Steve Platt, Carlton’s sales director. “Stewart has more experience in London airtime trading than anyone left at Laser.”
Platt claims Carlton has taken 10m of business from London Weekend Television this year, which Laser will be fighting to get back.
The move follows the start of the 1996 airtime negotiating season and a complaint by Carlton to the Independent Television Commission that Laser’s deals at its parent Granada’s subsidiaries amount to restrictive dealing.
Express Newspapers is launching a game card promotion next week linked to its sponsorship of new ITV quiz show Raise the Roof.
The network sponsorship adds to Laser’s growing list of deals struck for autumn 1995 – the company is expected to generate network sponsorship worth 6m for the autumn quarter, head of sponsorship Paul Chard says.
Laser has been responsible for raising about half of network sponsorship across the whole year, he adds. Total network sponsorship revenue for the year will be worth about 20m – not 12m, as incorrectly reported in last week’s Marketing Week.