Turkish sales house says it has resolved dispute with Unilever and Koc but not P&G

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ISTANBUL--The crisis in which some of Europe's biggest advertisers have refused to advertise on the major Turkish TV channels appears to be heading toward resolution.

The saga began when sales house Birlepik Medya Pazarlama A.S. (BIMAS) added two additional channels, giving it control over 70% of Turkish TV ad spending.

Last month, the big advertisers claimed BIMAS was trying to raise net ad rates by up to 110%. BIMAS claimed it lost 80% of its revenue because of an unofficial boycott by major advertisers. Earlier this month BIMAS, introduced a new discount system to placate advertisers.

According to Yusuf Gokcek, general manager of BIMAS, it has reached an agree- ment with Unilever, which will resume using BIMAS channels on December 21. Mr. Gokcek did not disclose details of the Unilever agreement. Mr. Gokcek also says Turkey's largest conglomerate, Koc Group, started using BIMAS channels the week of December 14.

One of Turkey's biggest advertisers - Procter & Gamble Co. - continues to stay away from advertising on BIMAS channels Star TV, Show TV, ATV and Kanal D. "Our talks with P&G are continuing and I am confident that we will reach some sort of an agreement before the new year," Mr. Gokcek says.

Earlier this month, Mr. Gokcek said BIMAS had introduced a new system that would make transactions more transparent and no longer allow for the huge discounts big advertisers were used to negotiating. He said that BIMAS had lowered rate card prices by 65% to make advertising affordable for mid-sized companies.

Copyright December 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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