WPP advertisers return to Channel 4

WPP’s media buying clients will return to advertising on Channel 4 on Monday (14 January) after the two companies reached an agreement over an airtime deal for 2013, following a lengthy standoff which saw the agency group pull all ads from the channel.

One Born Every Minute
WPP media buying clients will return to advertising around Channel 4 shows such as One Born Every Minute.

Channel 4 and Group M, WPP’s media buying division, reached an agreement last night (9 January), ending a lengthy negotiation process which began in December.

In a joint statement, Channel 4’s sales director Jonathan Allan and Group M’s managing director of broadcast trading, said: “Negotiations are necessarily long and complex when two major media companies want to agree commercial terms in a complex and fast moving environment, but we were both very focused on getting things right for all parties.

“We look forward to building on our strong relationship and working together closely to deliver business and marketing success for all our mutual clients.”

The agreement follows Channel 4’s move earlier this week to contact marketers directly to persuade them back to advertising across its portfolio – which, in terms of media sales, also includes UKTV’s channels – after Group M withdrew its bookings in a bid to negotiate a better rates deal.

Group M is understood to spend between £250m and £300m advertising on Channel 4 and UKTV annually – roughly a quarter of the broadcaster’s ad revenue.

It is not known whether the new contract is is more favourable for advertisers than Group M’s previous two year deal. The length of the contract has also not been revealed.

While the agreement may be welcome news to Group M’s clients looking to boost their profile in the lucrative January period, rival broadcasters will be disappointed the dispute did not last longer and cause the agency group to shift more of their planned Channel 4 bookings over to their channels.

ITV’s ad revenue for January was understood to be up as much as 11 per cent year on year earlier this week.

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