Campaign Diary: I’m Only A Punter But

I cannot believe the barrage of bullshit emanating from the ITV Network Centre, justifying the reduction in their self-imposed share audience target for 2000.

I cannot believe the barrage of bullshit emanating from the ITV

Network Centre, justifying the reduction in their self-imposed share

audience target for 2000.



One minute they’re telling us how fantastically they’ve done in

reversing a seemingly irreversible downward trend - then suddenly it’s

all desperately tough out there and we’re ever so sorry, but we need to

reduce our share target.



Apparently the reason is that multi-channel growth, and in particular

digital, has been so strong, that it’s taken them by surprise. Oh

yeah?



Well, let’s adopt a fresh approach to this extra-terrestrial

conundrum.



Let’s do something that ITV has chosen not to do - publicly at

least.



Let’s look at the numbers.



First and foremost, ITV did not grow share last year. Its share dropped,

just as it’s dropped in each of the last eight years. The number of

multi-channel homes last year grew by 5.5 per cent. Hardly an

earth-shattering increase. What did ITV have written into their plan? A

decline?



So, there’s a share problem in multi-channel homes, then? No, that’s the

same (24.5 per cent) as it was a year ago.



OK, so ITV must be getting stuffed in these new Sky Digital homes?

Er ... no.



Their share is a respectable 22 per cent.



Holding up pretty well, in fact. And that’s among early adopters. Surely

once the digital base broadens out, ITV should do better?



Given that both Sky and ONdigital have been lobbing boxes out for some

time, it’s difficult to imagine a sudden surge in digital ownership. So

that can’t be it either.



One arrives at the inescapable conclusion that the ITV powers-that-be

are indulging in a bit of smoke and mirror action here. Come on boys,

stop messing about. Give us the real excuse.



It would be a breath of fresh Eyre.





Got a rant or a Diary story? E-mail campaign@haynet.com or post it to

Diary editor, Campaign, 174 Hammersmith Road, London W6.



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