ITV extends four-week AB deadlines into 2021

ITV is to extend four-week advanced booking deadlines into next year, but has stopped short of moving to a permanent change to the way its TV ads are bought beyond the pandemic.

The UK’s biggest broadcaster is contacting advertisers this afternoon to confirm that the four-week deadline, first introduced in July, will continue until the end of 2021. 

ITV said a trial period during the autumn, in which the standard nine-week deadlines were suspended, was “successful” and the AB policy had been developed in consultation with trade body ISBA. 

Advertisers and their media buyers are no longer charged for approvals up to the month of transmission, with programme choice requests now met up to four weeks away from broadcast. 

ITV will also extend the no-charge recommittal window for business sectors hit particularly hard by the pandemic, such as travel, tourism, theatre and film sectors, until the end of the first quarter of 2021. This means that TV ad bookings can be deferred and then recommitted, with no additional charges, once restrictions are eventually relaxed.

However, it has given no indication that will move to permanent four-week deadlines, as Channel 4 announced last week. ITV also stressed that advertisers who do wish to keep to their original AB deadline can continue to do so in order to retain “benefits such as daypart, centre breaks, break position, programme choice and discounts”, in accordance with any existing trading deal. 

Kelly Williams, managing director for commercial at ITV, said: “The response to our shift in AB deadlines has been welcomed across the industry, and as such we’re pleased to announce an extension to the policy into 2021. We want all of our advertisers to plan for Q1 with confidence, safe in the knowledge that they have our support where deferments are necessary, as we continue to offer a greater flexibility for all of our clients.”

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