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EXTRAORDINARY ITEMS – There’s no testcard on channel Y2K.

We hear from television land that the year-end balance sheets of media buyers are going to take a knock thanks to the millennium bug. Apparently, such businesses are very good at paying TV companies exactly on time: because the media buyers’ clients’ ads have already been broadcast into the ether, there’s nothing for a TV company to seize as security against late payment. All they can do is cut off the supply of credit, demanding payment up front. Hence media buyers make sure the cheque is posted before the last Friday of the month after broadcast. But the TV companies grant a concession at the end of the year, allowing media buyers to pay first thing in January, giving them a short-lived but auditable cash balance boost at the year end. Not in 1999: television companies want paid on the last Friday of December – and aren’t prepared to leave their money lying in someone else’s Y2K-stricken bank account on Millennium Eve.

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