Friction between radio sales house Media Sales & Marketing and agency buyers has come to a head as the sales house tries to deal with an increased workload. MS&M’s administration problems had been raised at the Incorporated Practitioners in Advertising Media committee.
And this week, MS&M managing director Paul Davies sent letters to buyers apologising for the past three months, blaming understaffing and technological problems.
Since EMAP centralised sales for all its stations into the Capital-owned MS&M in March, there have been difficulties ranging from invoicing delays to booking failures.
“I am sorry if this letter portrays a rather sorry picture, but I thought it was better to give you our perspective, warts and all, on the difficulties we have experienced over the past few months,” says Davies.
The EMAP centralisation gave MS&M a 60 per cent share of the local radio airtime market.
Agency buyers say the apology has come too late, as relationships with the sales house have already been damaged.
“There have been cases where campaigns have been forgotten and not booked. I would think in the short term it may not be so bad, but in the long term it will harm its reputation,” says one buyer.
Davies says staffing has been boosted by 50 per cent in the past three months to cope with the increased workload, and teething problems with new software were beginning to disappear.
He says in the letter that MS&M is now “at great pains” to try and resurrect the good relations the sales house had with agencies before.