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TV companies to set up marketing body to promote ads

LONDON – Eight commercial TV companies are working together to create a £1m marketing organisation to promote the value of TV advertising, which would rival the Radio Advertising Bureau, in an attempt to increase their share of the market.

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ITV, Channel 4, Five, Sky Media, Turner Broadcasting, GMTV, Interactive Digital Sales and Viacom Brand Solutions are to launch the initiative at the end of January 2005 with an official event including guest speakers, researchers and industry experts lined up in the first half of 2005.

Senior officials from each of the TV companies are involved in the venture including ITV's Graham Duff, Channel 4's Andy Barnes, Five's Mark White, Sky Media's Mark Wood, Turner's Dee Forbes, GMTV's Clive Crouch, IDS's Mark Howe and Viacom's Nick Bampton.

There will also be a working group to handle the day-to-day running of the as-yet-to-be-named organisation.

In a joint statement, the eight founding members said: "There is a strong desire among clients and agencies for a coordinated approach to marketing television. They are keen to see commercial broadcasters take a creative and proactive approach to the growing range of opportunities that new technology and the expansion of the medium now offers."

ITV chief executive Charles Allen, in an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, likened the initiative to the RAB. "We are moving towards creating the equivalent of the Radio Advertising Bureau in television," he said.

The organisation is being set up by media consultancy The Ingram Partnership. The team will oversee the appointment of third party members incuding web designers, identity and event management companies.

The Media Foundry has already been appointed to handle PR.

The move comes as the increase in digital and multichannel television means increased choice of channels and reduced audiences for each channel.

TV channels now have to work harder than ever before to attract advertisers.

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