BRAND SPEND ANALYSIS: Cable giant NTL is focusing on regional press and TV in its bid to win customers

Background The price war raging between Alta Vista and BT over the cost of internet access has prompted communications giant NTL to enter the fray. It has just launched a UK-wide internet service called NTL World, which offers its residential customers free internet access, and a TV service is to follow shortly.

Background The price war raging between Alta Vista and BT over the

cost of internet access has prompted communications giant NTL to enter

the fray. It has just launched a UK-wide internet service called NTL

World, which offers its residential customers free internet access, and

a TV service is to follow shortly.



The move fits perfectly with NTL’s mission to deliver virtually any kind

of communication, ’from anywhere to anywhere’, by whatever medium is the

most effective. This strategy has paid dividends in the UK, where NTL

delivers TV, internet and interactive services to more than one million

homes and businesses.



When it completes its acquisition of Cable & Wireless’s consumer

operations, NTL will be the UK’s largest cable operator. It already

offers tailor-made packages and campaign management services to local

businesses that want to run ads on cable and satellite channels in their

regions.



NTL clearly has the critical mass it needs to shape the way other

companies advertise, but how does its own adspend and media strategy

shape up?



Media agency Media buying and planning is through Carat, while J. Walter

Thompson handles NTL’s creative work.



Total spend and the media mix NTL spent pounds 13.3 million on

advertising in the 12 months to January 2000, with an ad strategy

strongly focused on broadcast media and regional press and posters.



Levels of expenditure fluctuated greatly over the year - there was a

pounds 3.9 million TV campaign in June and July, and another pounds 2.9

million campaign during September to November.



Spend across all other media was spread fairly evenly throughout the

year, although there was a sharp rise in expenditure on press and radio

in June/July to support the television campaign.



NTL advertised on 98 television channels last year - including 33 Astra

channels - but 97 per cent of its total pounds 7.3 million TV spend went

on terrestrial.



Its choice of channels reflects the company’s strong cable presence in

regional centres. The channels that attracted the most adspend were LWT

(pounds 1.2 million), Central (pounds 920,000), Anglia (pounds 490,000),

Granada (pounds 400,000) and Yorkshire (pounds 370,000).



There was a similarly strong regional focus in NTL’s press

advertising.



The top six titles were The Sunday Times, Financial Times and the Daily

Telegraph - taking a combined spend of pounds 473,039 - and the Daily

Record, Glasgow Herald and Teeside Evening Gazette, which took a total

of pounds 388,845.



Direct mail also targeted key regions, with 71 per cent sent to the

London, Central and Anglia areas.



Conclusions NTL’s success to date has been in bringing fast,

high-capacity communication links to UK consumers and businesses through

its heavy investment in cable and satellite. It is already stressing the

benefits to advertisers of using its networks.



In the future we can expect an increased focus on creating even faster

voice, vision and data services, backed by increased levels of

advertising.





Research by AC Nielsen MMS, telephone: 01344-627553

www.mediamonitoring.co.uk.



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