A new ITV sales house with revenues of around £1.2 billion will be formed if the proposed £7.8 billion Carlton/United merger gets the green light, according to insiders.
Bringing together Carlton Media Sales and TSMS will create a unit selling across 10 ITV regions – Meridian, Channel, HTV, STV, Anglia, Grampian, Ulster, Carlton, Central and Westcountry. The new sales house will represent around 40% of total UK TV ad spend.
Insiders suggest that the new shop will operate under the Carlton Sales umbrella which has a dedicated digital airtime sales unit, Carlton Digital Sales.
However, online sales for the new company are likely to be switched into a rebranded version of TSMS’ online sales point TSMSi, which is already established as one of the country’s leading internet sales houses. Sales for Carlton’s web clients goes through CDS.
It is unclear who would run the new operation, however it is unlikely to be an outsider. Martin Bowley is chief executive of Carlton Sales and Jerry Hill, chief executive of TSMS.
Combined, both companies employ around 600 sales staff. Insiders said it was too early to say whether there would be any job losses.
Advertisers have reacted angrily at the possible formation of an ITV “super sales house”. Industry groups representing advertisers, including the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers and the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising are demanding the Office of Fair Trading refers the deal to the Competition Commission.
Both Hill and Bowley refused to comment on the merger. However, Hill told Media Week that “nobody running free-to-air network is going to ride roughshod over an advertiser, who is a major part of the business as a whole”.
See Media Week, December 3 for Analysis, Page14 and 15 and Comment, Page 16