Media: Double Standards - Why it doesn't get better than TV, football and CSI

Channel 4 and five's sales directors share their views on TV as a medium and its programmes, and their dreams of alternative jobs at their favourite football clubs.

ANDY BARNES - SALES DIRECTOR, CHANNEL 4

- What's been the highlight on television so far this year?

In terms of sheer numbers, and because it surprised everyone, it has got to be Britain's Got Talent. In a more predictable way, it has to be the continued development of The F Word, Grand Designs and Ugly Betty.

- Has the Sky/Virgin Media row been detrimental to the TV industry?

This dispute is as much about broadband and television and is about delivery and price of delivery, not about effectiveness. As such, although it is not positive, I think its effect is relatively neutral.

- To what extent do you feel that advertisers undervalue TV audiences?

Only to the extent that they dismiss television without accepting or understanding what it continues to provide. Rejection because it is neither "new or digital" is rejection for the wrong reason. After that, its value will be linked to its return.

- What could TV do to improve its image?

It is already doing much in this area by working together through Thinkbox and demonstrating the continued power of TV and showcasing how new advertisers to the medium are enjoying the benefits. As such, we need to celebrate TV's successes more on the front foot about TV's ability to deliver advertisers business objectives.

- What's the biggest challenge for the TV industry?

To continue to show that television is still the best medium to generate powerful, emotional branded messages, which engage viewers in a fast-changing media world.

- What's the single most important issue facing your company over the next five years?

A re-articulation of the Channel 4 remit in a multimedia world highlighting the breadth of benefits we provide in both a public service and commercial sense to our many stakeholders. All of whom, as a result, will continue to benefit from Channel 4's successful development.

- What job would you want if you weren't doing this one?

Clearly I would love to be Arsene Wenger's assistant at the mighty Arsenal.

- What are your favourite TV programmes?

Shameless, Without a Trace, The F Word, CSI, Sky Sports News and Coronation Street to name but six - I like television!

- What are the similarities between the two of you?

Football-loving sales directors. Tall, dark and interesting - as anyone who knows us will confirm!

- If you had each other's job for a day, what would you do?

Enjoy Covent Garden, extol the virtues of CSI and find out all their secrets.

MARK WHITE - EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF SALES, FIVE

- What's been the highlight on television so far this year?

Planet Earth showing how amazing high-definition television can be; Paul Merton in China; Champions League (semi-finals); Lewis Hamilton's surge to the chequered flag adding two million to the Formula One audience and Britain's Got Talent showing the punters still love a good old variety show.

- Has the Sky/Virgin Media row been detrimental to the TV industry?

There's no question that it's done the protagonists no favours, but any serious observer of TV will have seen it for exactly what it is - a clash of big company egos. To be honest, Sky has done well to focus on the extra subscribers while concealing the true damage to its impact delivery. The ITV blocking manoeuvre was true strategic genius.

- To what extent do you feel that advertisers undervalue TV audiences?

I think we're in the middle of an experimental period during which some advertisers have been seduced by superficially sexy new-media propositions. There'll now be a gradual realisation that other media - be it press, radio, posters and especially the internet - all work far more effectively, creating value in tandem with the unparalleled brand-building power of television.

- What could TV do to improve its image?

Listen to what advertisers need and viewers want. Thinkbox is not just window-dressing - we're committed. Me, him opposite and the other five of us. Tess (Alps) is the perfect figurehead and you'll be hearing plenty from us all as we continue to demonstrate what TV is achieving and can deliver for advertisers' turnover in this digital age.

- What's the biggest challenge for the TV industry?

Convincing agencies to embrace television all over again. They've spent so long cutting one another's throats over fees and guaranteed discounts to meet auditors' commoditised pools, that there's no longer any margin left. We need to help them focus on effectiveness to re-establish television as the premium advertising vehicle that in return generates them and their clients the most financial value.

- What's the single most important issue facing your company over the next five years?

Managing five's transition into a successful provider of content across multiple digital platforms, at a time when increased competition for rights is creating unrealistic inflation.

- What job would you want if you weren't doing this one?

The dream would be Rick Parry's job at Anfield, but I could probably achieve more for Liverpool if I replaced David Gill at Old Trafford!

- What are your favourite TV programmes?

Prison Break, Fifth Gear, Match of the Day, Grand Designs, 24, CSI, Two and a Half Men, X-Factor, Sky Sports News, ER, Desperate Housewives, Lost and loads, loads more.

- What are the similarities between the two of you?

Tall, dark, handsome chilled-out entertainers, down to earth, challenging, straight-talking, loyal, team players, passionate about our companies, our football clubs and most of all about television.

- If you had each other's job for a day, what would you do?

Tell Andy Duncan to stop talking down the channel's excellent commercial achievements by endlessly asking for public handouts. Give Kevin Lygo and Jeff Ford their own comedy chat shows.

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Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).