Channel 4 and Group M have agreed on a new trading agreement ending weeks of dispute in which the WPP media buying arm had refused to bow to the broadcaster’s ad terms.
The row, which began last year, saw Group M, which owns Mediacom, Maxus, MEC and Mindshare, refuse to accept Channel 4’s proposed rates for a 2013 deal. The negotiations are understood to have ended last night with an agreement on a new deal, which will see Group M clients return to the broadcaster’s channels in the coming weeks.
Other agencies have been monitoring the dispute with interest, with multiple sources agreeing that any situation in which Channel 4 had to succumb to Group M’s pressure could have had a detrimental effect on the rest of the market if the dispute resulted in overall ad prices being driven down, which could have a knock-on effect on content reinvestment.
However, sources close to the situation said the new deal terms were favorable for the broadcaster and on a par with the previous agreement.
In a joint statement Jonathan Allan, Channel 4’s Director of Sales and Mark Collins, and Group M Managing Director 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.”
Group M manages TV ad deals on behalf of WPP agencies and spends around £250 million a year on advertising with Channel 4. The new deal will mean Group M advertisers can return to the broadcaster running against major shows including new drama Utopia.