The majority of advertisers would like to see the current system of
trading TV scrapped and replaced by a more accurate one, according to a
survey by Media Audits.
The research, which questioned the UK’s leading blue-chip companies,
found that 70% of clients felt there was an urgent need to find an
alternative to the existing system, known as Station Average Price.
It revealed that most clients favour replacing it with a system based on
a broadcaster’s delivery of guaranteed audience coverage.
A total of 62% said that they would like to see TV airtime traded via
this system; 23% favoured fixed price, while 21% were happy to stick
SAP is based on the price of ITV’s airtime and is determined by a TV
station’s revenue divided by its audience.
However, advertisers are becoming increasingly restless because the
system is based on a notional average price benchmark.
Their calls for change have been fuelled by the desire to achieve more
cost-effective audience coverage in the face of falling ratings and
unpredictable audience levels.
However, the broadcast director of one top five media agency commented:
’No media owner would do a coverage deal - it would cost thousands.
Coverage is driven by viewers and no contractor can guarantee how many
viewers will watch a programme.’
He admitted that SAP was flawed because it is impossible to guarantee
levels of communication, but added: ’Of course it would be better to
have fixed price or guaranteed coverage. But realistically, it wouldn’t
work because the buyer and seller would never agree a deal.’
Lynda Graham, managing director of Media Audits, said: ’Taking into
account the many millions of pounds advertisers spend on TV airtime,
creating a currency that accurately reflects what they want and need
seems to be eminently sensible.’
The research was based on a sample of 60 leading blue-chip advertisers
which between them account for advertising expenditure worth pounds
The sectors covered included FMCG, automotive and financial services.