Stop offering ‘unachievable’ discounts TV sales execs warn media agencies

Media agencies need to stop focussing on price and promising “unbelieveable” and “unachievable” discounts to win pitches according to a panel of the three top TV sales executives in Australia.

Speaking on panel about the state of the Australian free-to-air TV market Louise Barrett, sales director for Network Ten, said if she was an agency she would “take the emphasis off price and put it on value”.

She added: “Agencies are very focused on price and there’s more to it than that, there’s audience value and getting results for clients. Price is too big a part of what an agency does.”

Her views were echoed by Nine Entertainment Co’s head of sales Peter Wiltshire, who slated stories of circulating in the industry recently of agencies offering discounts of up to 90 per cent on ad spots to clients to win pitches.

He added: “Procurement teams with in clients are pushing the barrow on this. They hear rumours of agencies offering these unbelievable prices coming out and they get fixated on that.

“They don’t get these discounts but the agencies don’t get found out.”

Both Barrett and Wiltshire, who were on the “Three Billion Dollar” panel with Seven West Media’s chief revenue officer Kurt Burnette, agreed there needs to be some automation of buying in the industry to reduce the amount of manual inputting from both agencies and media owners.

But Burnette warned the networks were still reluctant to give up too much inventory to programmatic trading, adding: “Let’s put it this way, if we did that we wouldn’t be sat here next year as the $3bn club, we’d be the $500,000 club wondering where it had gone wrong.

“It has a place, but it has to be used for good, don’t let it be used for evil.”

Barrett ruled out the possibility of allowing real-time bidding on ads for TV saying it was too hard to do, whilst Wiltshire flagged the issue with “auctions” is “everyone goes there trying to find a bargain”.

Alex Hayes


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