Channel 5 signal fears cast shadow on deals

Advertisers and media buyers have expressed growing concern over reports that poor reception of the Channel 5 signal will make the channel unwatchable in many homes. At the same time, Channel 5 has taken steps to quash what it describes as scaremongering by rivals.

Advertisers and media buyers have expressed growing concern over

reports that poor reception of the Channel 5 signal will make the

channel unwatchable in many homes. At the same time, Channel 5 has taken

steps to quash what it describes as scaremongering by rivals.



Press speculation over recent weeks has suggested that as many as

two-thirds of homes around the country will not be able to watch the

channel when it launches at the end of March.



According to a number of estimates, the low-power transmissions of the

Channel 5 signal will mean that as many as 3.5 million homes will

require new aerials in order to receive the channel.



Media buyers have complained of a lack of information from Channel 5 to

reassure those clients that have already committed money to the

station.



Paul Longhurst, the media director of Ammirati Puris Lintas, said:

’There’s no smoke without fire. Unless it’s a very, very clear picture

quality, this signalling issue potentially undermines a lot of

advertising deals that have already been struck.’



John Blakemore, the UK advertising director of SmithKline Beecham, said

his personal experience was of not being able to receive the Channel 5

signal. ’But it’s only the size of the universe that is the subject of

debate here, and that can be addressed through your media deals if

you’re smart enough to have a fallback. I’ve no fears about the

professionalism and integrity of the sales team.’



A spokesman from NTL, Channel 5’s transmission contractor, insisted that

the problem was a minor one: ’There will be a number of people who do

have a problem, but the majority of homes won’t be affected. This is not

something people should be overly concerned about.’



Nick Milligan, Channel 5’s sales director, said: ’We’ll be in 60 per

cent of homes at launch, 75 per cent by the end of the year and 85 per

cent by the end of 1998. It’s what we’ve been working to ever since we

won the licence; there are no surprises here.’



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