Because the two groups have been meeting for 10 days in a row, there was speculation that progress was being made. However, executives close to the negotiations said the advertisers reportedly were ready to walk out at least two times when they believed the unions weren't going to move on some key issues. Several issues have emerged as the most troublesome, including compensation for exposure on cable and Internet, and the monitoring of ads.
The Joint Policy Committee of the American Association of Advertising Agencies and the Association of National Advertisers had backed away from completely eliminating the pay-per-play economic formula by suggesting that some emerging networks such as the WB and UPN, or some cable networks, could still employ the financial model. At the same time, the unions also have given up some ground and agreed to flat fees in some broadcast and cable areas. Advertisers said no, however, because those flat fees were too high.
Though the JPC swears there's been no dissension in its ranks, one executive said three major advertisers weren't happy with the committee's negotiating group, and wanted it to make more concessions. At least one of the three advertisers was a automotive marketer, the executive said.
Copyright September 2000, Crain Communications Inc.