ISBA launches new Media Services Framework

Abi Gibbons
Director of Communications

April 2016 saw the launch of ISBA’s original Media Services Framework, followed in 2018 by an updated version. Today, three years on, ISBA has launched a new version for its members.

The Media Services Framework 2021 is the product of a fundamental overhaul. Since first publication, both the media landscape and the way media is traded have evolved, driving the need for advertisers to have a contract that brings clarity and transparency with their agency.

This new framework offers several new approaches to resolve longstanding problems and identifies and addresses new issues.  The key changes include:

  • For advertisers:
    • Greater clarity in the clauses and their intent.  For example, the management and reporting of Inventory Media, access to Records, OOH media, intra-group mark-ups of pricing and Auditing.
    • Greater value.  Improved reporting will drive increased transparency in media planning, supporting better decision making and media neutral planning. 
    • Greater transparency through improved reporting requiring agencies to declare related companies, use of Inventory Media, domains and clearer Media Plans
    • New clauses to manage OOH, the digital supply chain and intra-group mark-ups.
  • Agencies
    • Fit for purpose document, addressing long held concerns in areas such as breadth of ‘Agency Group’, ‘Best Interests’ and ownership of and access to Records.
    • A new NDA and definitions relating to the recognition of Agency Confidential Information
    • Simpler document enabling the agency and client to close more quickly without protracted negotiation.
  • Intermediaries (Pitch consultants, performance and compliance auditors)
    • Better definitions and greater clarity relating to access to Records.
    • The improved NDA and management of confidential information should enable a better-defined working relationship for auditors and agencies.

In preparing this new Framework, ISBA consulted with agencies, advertisers, auditors, and intermediaries. Prior to work commencing an independent consultant was commissioned to conduct qualitative and quantitative research to understand how the existing framework was being used by both advertisers and agencies in their negotiations and where the challenges lay for both parties.

Development of the new framework was led by ISBA’s Director of Agency Services, Andrew Lowdon, with 20 plus years’ experience working on both client and agency sides.  Legal support was provided by Robert Wegenek, an industry expert with more than 25 years of experience in advising on media agency agreements for both agencies and clients.

Commenting on the new version Andrew Lowdon said, “the contribution from so many interested parties and the expertise and knowledge brought to bear in its development has led to a document that is fit for purpose for both advertisers and their agency partners in this time of increasing complexity in media trading and supply chains.”  

Peter Duffy CEO of Moneysupermarket and ISBA President said “ISBA has invested a significant amount of resource and time to make sure we are helping our members achieve transparency and our latest Media Services Framework, launching this month, will provide the basis of a new relationship for all parties. This new framework builds on previous versions, offers several new approaches to resolve problems and identifies and addresses new issues.”

The Media Services Framework 2021 and accompanying notes are now available for ISBA members.