The bosses of Australia’s three free-to-air commercial television stations have warned the country’s biggest buyer of TV airtime – GroupM – to stop talking down their industry or face the consequences in advertising negotiations.
The Australian has this morning reported that Channel Nine CEO David Gyngell, Seven CEO Tim Worner and Ten CEO Hamish McLennan have put aside their respective rivalries and taken aim at GroupM’s chief trading officer Danny Bass’s criticism of ad rates in the $3.4 billion free-to-air advertising market.
The article reports that Bass has questioned the high cost of TV advertising, citing declining audience numbers and cheaper alternatives like digital advertising.
It is understood that GroupM is currently finalising its 2015-2016 schedule which includes some $1 billion in ad spend to be divvied-up between the three commercial stations.
“Nine clearly has more respect for the value that free-to-air has on building brands than GroupM does,” Mr Gyngell said. “We are surprised by their position.”
Mr Worner was quoted as saying: “Are we seeing the Mad Men being replaced by math men? In the end, they actually have to sell stuff. That is why they have been hired. If they don’t move the needle, if they don’t get the required result with that product or that brand, they have to face the consequences.”
While Mr McLennan said: “I’ve worked in this space around the world for 30 years. Free TV remains a powerful, effective, and persuasive medium.”
Chairman of industry body Free TV and former media buyer Harold Mitchell said he was starting an investigation, describing Mr Bass’s remarks as “very disturbing”, “ill informed” and “naive”.
Read the full article here.