Advertisers berate ITV over expensive airtime

Advertisers forcibly expressed their exasperation with the expense of ITV airtime at the TV Barcelona conference last week and called on ITV to join Channel 5 in lobbying for more minutage.

Mike Moran, marketing director of Toyota GB, said: “It’s getting ridiculously expensive. I believe media inflation is out of control.”

However, Richard Eyre, ITV chief executive, rejected the arguments for having more minutage and said: “We are trying to do a long-term job. If we have more advertising there will be less programming or less promotions.

“It’s a short-term solution and I think it risks compounding the downward decline.”

Moran said he was backing Eyre, but could not contain his frustration at the current situation. “I’m pissed off,” he said.

Eyre, whose presentation stressed how mass networks work uniquely well for advertisers in the multi-channel age, was followed by ITV marketing and commercial director John Hardie.

He gave examples of how he was trying to solve the past inconsistencies of ITV’s marketing strategy. Formerly programme trails were often re-cut by each region. Now trails will be made by a lead producer to a creative brief written by the Network Centre’s marketing team, and will be run across the country.

Hardie says that on-screen idents and promotions will aim to create a stronger link between the ITV name and its regional brands such as Yorkshire or Anglia, but these local names will be the lead brand. Key programmes for PR activity will in future be designated by the Network Centre, rather than from the local TV companies.

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