MEDIA: Clients oppose SAP

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 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

with SAP.

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.


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