TV Nova upsets media buyers with new sales system

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PRAGUE -- The Central European Media Enterprises (CME) flagship station TV Nova has angered media buyers by changing its policy so that they can no longer choose exact time slots in which advertise- ments are broadcast.

Instead, media buyers must define their client's target group and may specify to TV Nova very general parameters (for example, "before 11 p.m.") and pay Nova for the estimated number of gross ratings points (GRPs). The station then places the advertisement whenever it pleases within the basic parameters specified.

Under the new system, Nova guarantees the number of GRPs sold to buyers and "GRP credits" are issued if the program does not perform as expected while "extra" GRPs are considered bonuses for the client.

Media buyers say the new system reduces their position in the client-buyer relationship and that the move was made in order to cloud a 20% price hike introduced the day the new sales system went into effect.

Buyers also say Nova has been overestimating the GRPs of its broadcasting time, and although clients are credited with GRPs not attained, overestimates mean that buyers could be forced to buy more GRPs than they actually want.

Copyright February 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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