First the Patent Office became the Intellectual Property Office, then premium rate phone line regulator ICSTIS became PhonepayPlus, now TV ad vetter the BACC has become Clearcast from 1 January 2008. But do the changes run deeper? Stephen Groom reports.
When: 1 January 2008
Law stated as at: 2 January 2008
The Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre, which vets all advertising on UK commercial television before it is broadcast, changed its name to "Clearcast" with effect from 1 January 2008.
This was not just a change following in the wake of the Patent Office (home of the trade marks registry and many other intellectual property services) becoming the "Intellectual Property Office" and the premium rate telephone line regulator ICSTIS becoming "PayphonePlus."
A new managing director, former Head of Audiences at the BBC Chris Mundy, takes charge and the service will be provided through a new company, Clearcast Ltd, which has already applied to register as a UK trade mark both the word CLEARCAST and a device incorporating a creative new logo and the word "Clearcast" in stylised form.
Another fundamental change is that the vehicle for the service is a new company established by all major UK broadcasters, including BSkyB, rather than an offshoot of ITV. A primary objective of the re-structure, it says here, is to "establish a more effective means of managing existing shared services within television administration" and to create a "one stop shop" for the pre-transmission clearance and administration of audio visual advertising.
These shared services include copy clearance (handled by the BACC up to now), attribution, spot scheduling and the e-trading system for TV airtime. Historically each of these services has been funded and run separately.
Another stated objective of the newly constituted body is to "examine possibilities for creating efficiencies and consistency through re-defining existing services," which the uncharitable might interpret as MBA babble for "upping the BACC's currently inefficient and inconsistent act ".
Still another objective is the "review and possible redefinition of existing workflows in commercial delivery," which perhaps suggests existing staff face a challenging Q1 of 2008.
New MD Chris Mundy will be tasked with leading the strategic development of the new business, ensuring that its services are developed in line with the regulatory and dynamic business environment in which it operates and exploring additional and related services to support the audiovisual advertising industry.
Why this matters:
The old BACC was owned 100% by ITV with other commercial broadcasters, such as BSKyB, purchasing its services. In the new Clearcast model, all leading UK commercial TV broadcasters are shareholders in the company.
So all will have a vested interest in seeing to it that Clearcast meets the challenges it faces from a more powerful Advertising Standards Authority and service users in the advertising industry who have long complained variously of inconsistent decisions, slow responses and inexperience leading to unwarranted script rejection.
MD Mundy will be spending his first few weeks in post taking soundings before looking to the future. We wish him the best of luck at the head of an operation for which "You can't please all of the people all of the time" might have been invented.