Will the launch of London Live appeal to advertisers?

campaignlive.co.uk, Thursday, 14 February 2013 08:00AM

Can the Standard's local TV channel for London pull in the viewers and deliver value for brands, Alasdair Reid asks.

Alan Brydon, managing director, investment, Havas Media


MAYBE Alan Brydon, managing partner, investment, Havas Media

"If it tries to compete with other TV channels, it will struggle. But if [in conjunction with the Standard] there is a cross-platform opportunity to reach engaged, affluent Londoners, then a lot of advertisers should be very interested."

NO Ruth Cartwright, broadcast director, Maxus

"Local news and current affairs content will undoubtedly be strong. However, it will be appealing only to advertisers who want to upweight [in the London region] or target locally, and forecast revenues of £20 million are unrealistic."

YES Jessica Evans, associate press director, Carat

"This venture could attract new advertisers who haven’t advertised with the Evening Standard before, or offer [existing advertisers] solutions that are more compelling. We cannot view media in separate silos any more."

MAYBE Chris Wright, joint head of investment, Initiative

"I’m not sure advertisers will be excited by the prospect of London Live – they’re more likely to be cautiously interested. Concerns over its commercial viability are real and the quality of content will ultimately dictate success or failure."

Last week, Ofcom awarded the local London TV licence to the Lebedev-family-owned London Evening Standard. The new service, London Live, will be available to more than four million homes in one of the world’s most affluent cities.

Campaign understands the five bidders for the London TV franchise had revenue expectations ranging between £10 million and £30 million. While the London Live bid is not believed to have been the most bullish, if it doesn’t push the higher end of that spectrum (equivalent to half of the Standard’s annual revenue) in its third year, it will go down as a disappointment. So are they being over-optimistic?

Alan Brydon, the managing partner, investment, at Havas Media and a former sales director at the Standard, sees an opportunity for the Lebedevs to develop a cross-platform offering. He explains: "[The company has] achieved an admirable quality in the newspaper’s output and developed some interesting digital extensions. If those things can be replicated for London Live, opportunities will be available for advertisers."

However, Ruth Cartwright, the broadcast director at Maxus, is less upbeat, saying the channel may struggle to reach its viewing and revenue targets. She explains: "It will need to take share away from existing deals [that media agencies have with broadcasters]. And £20 million seems a modest goal, but when you consider it will be competing with channels offering national coverage, then it becomes an impossibility."

But Jessica Evans, the associate press director at Carat, argues that it is unwise to think of media opportunities in terms of established categories and silos. She comments: "Not only will advertisers be offered a new platform, but there will be opportunities for better integration with other platforms and to strengthen existing partnerships."

Perhaps, Chris Wright, the joint head of investment at Initiative, says. He adds: "If audience levels are good, the service may offer a lower-cost alternative to ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, making TV more viable for some [London-oriented advertisers]. And national advertisers may use the service to upweight the region, where viewing levels are the lowest in the country."

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk


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