ITV pledges to attack BBC audience

ITV will next week set out targets for audience growth following calls from the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising for the network to be more accountable.

ITV will next week set out targets for audience growth following

calls from the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising for the network

to be more accountable.



Richard Eyre, the chief executive of ITV, has agreed in principle to

agency demands that ITV should improve its audience share against the

BBC, and specifically against a number of key demographics.



’We’re keen to create a fairly open relationship with all our customers,

and we’ve consulted with them about the sort of targets they would be

interested in seeing us meet,’ Eyre explained.



The IPA’s Media Policy Group wrote to Eyre at the end of last year

setting out specific targets for ITV’s audience share growth. These

involved a clear focus on taking audience from the BBC rather than from

other commercial channels.



The IPA also wants ITV to increase its audience share among younger and

upmarket viewers. ’There is no point in ITV increasing its audience if

the additional viewers are all over 55 years old,’ one IPA executive

said.



The IPA wanted ITV to increase its share against the BBC by one share

point this year and a further 2.5 share points in 1999.



On Monday, Eyre will outline his vision for the future of ITV as

promised, 100 days after his appointment. He will set out ITV’s own

targets, which are understood to be slightly more ambitious. ’The BBC is

our main target, but we’ve calibrated our aims in a different way from

the IPA’s suggestions,’ Eyre said.



Eyre will focus ITV’s competitive aim directly at BBC 1, and is

understood to be keen to take the less mainstream BBC 2 out of the

equation.



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