ISBA warns TV stations over inflation

Advertisers should demand discounts from TV stations that drive up TV airtime inflation by heavily cross-promoting their own services, according to the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA).

ISBA claims that this “inter-group trading” contributed to a doubling of airtime inflation in 1999 as Granada and Carlton screened heavyweight campaigns for the &£23m launch of ONdigital, which they jointly own. Other examples include Granada’s promotion of trips to its Coronation Street studios in Manchester.

ISBA director of media service Bob Wootton says: “We have to find ways to protect our economic interests. We have to get advertisers to write clauses into their deals.”

He suggests advertisers insist on discounts if inter-group trading exceeds certain levels, because it adds to airtime inflation.

“You should investigate [contracts] with the media agencies if inter-group trading reaches certain thresholds; then you would wish to see further returns on the base price you have negotiated,” he adds.

Wootton’s suggestion is part of guidance issued by ISBA in advance of the coming “trading round” between advertisers and TV airtime sales houses, which begins this autumn for airtime contracts over the next year.

Wootton says advertisers should also ensure that ITV sales houses stand by commitments made to the Competition Commission to axe deals that demand a certain share of their advertising is spent on ITV.

He also says advertisers should write clauses into their contracts demanding discounts from stations that superimpose their own material over the advertising.

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