Sales plan revamp

Televisa tries to cash in on rising ratings

MEXICO CITY — Hoping to bridge the yawning gap between soaring ratings and flat ad sales, Televisa is revamping its all-important upfront sales plan.

Televisa topper Emilio Azcarraga Jean hosted a meeting with execs from the company’s top 40 advertisers Monday to present the new version of its so-called French plan.

The plan eliminates the mandatory upfront payments and the fixed increases in ad spending as well as the bonus system under which “free” spots were offered, depending on the level of investment.

Now Televisa will use a rate card that will be updated quarterly. Rates are broken down for each of the four channels into hour slots for weekdays and weekends.

Advertisers who commit for the following year upfront will be guaranteed stable rates. Those who pay upfront will be given additional financial benefits.

Ad and media executives have expressed some concern that Televisa will not guarantee ratings, unlike rival TV Azteca. The new plan will make a media buy at Televisa much more complicated than before, they say.

Analysts have complained that Televisa’s rigid French plan prevented the company from taking advantage of substantial ratings gains against TV Azteca this year. Despite high ratings and a strong showing in the World Cup, its second-quarter TV sales, which represent 60% of total sales, were flat at $250 million as overall revenue slipped 2%.

Ad executives are worried about some of the conditions imposed by the new French plan, such as booking spots two weeks in advance on a non-cancelable basis.

Televisa corporate VP for sale and marketing Alejandro Quintero said the company is reviewing comments from the agencies and clients.

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