The Greek government said last week it is considering in its new broadcast law including regulations to control the way advertising companies form consortia. A bill will be submitted to Parliament later this month.
“One of the aims of the bill being drafted… is to introduce regulations that would prohibit the concentration of power,” in such consortia, or “media shops,” said the minister for press and mass media, Evangelos Venizelos.
His comments came after the country’s two largest private webs, Antenna and Mega, joined forces with 10 newspapers and publishing groups to press for government regulation of the advertising industry.
The broadcasters and print outlets were complaining about the influence wielded by media shops, which group client bookings. This enables the shops to receive considerable discounts.
Two main media shops control about 65% of TV and print advertising and they drew media ire when it was made public that many of the discounts, or commissions, received by the media shops by far exceeded official agency fees.
News reports said that media shop returns were four times higher than the 40% or so return on capital for the two webs.
“That the returns do not wind up with those (carrying) advertising is shown by the inflated profits made in relation to their capital by the companies making up media shops,” the webs said.
Squeeze is on
Industry analysts point to the fact that media shops can squeeze media by channeling money to outlets irrespective of share rating.
“The criteria for choosing an advertising media is no longer the reach or rating of a media but its conforming to the rules being imposed by media shops,” the 12 said in a paid ad.
They added: “We think the time has come for immediate legal regulation of the issue in our country.”