WPP’s GroupM will still advertise on the UK’s Channel 4 – whether they agree a new deal or not

Various commentators are still getting exciting about the supposedly imminent pulling of about £200m of WPP-owned GroupM business from UK terrestrial broadcaster Channel 4 as the two parties have failed to reach agreement on a 2013 deal.

The argument, as we noted, is not about price but the spots GroupM gets; they want the best ones rather than any old rubbish (and C4 has a lot of the latter at the moment).

But I also learn that GroupM has agreed to carry on advertising on C4 into the start of the New Year at the old (2012) rates while this is resolved.

This is for three reasons: one, that neither party wants there to be a GroupM destroys C4 scenario (bad PR for GroupM and owner WPP, obviously not good for C4), two, that GroupM’s major priority is getting its clients’ money away (clients don’t hire GroupM not to advertise) and, three, the individuals concerned want to have some kind of holiday over Christmas/New Year.

So, in one sense, it’s all a lot of fuss about nothing. On the other it’s serious for C4 which, despite its ability to land big broadcasting hits – everything from Homeland to its revelations that Tory chief whip Andrew Mitchell (left) was stitched up by the Police Federation – is still worryingly short of a consistent ratings winner to replace old standbys Brookside and Big Brother.

At the moment it’s a drama not a crisis. But this could change.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.