GMTV is doing well despite the low profile of its sales arm, Alasdair
Last week, GMTV staffers were too busy celebrating to pay much attention
to a little cloud appearing on the horizon. After all, the breakfast TV
contractor had just announced its first profits: pounds 1 million for
the calendar year 1995. The good news has been a long time coming - last
year was GMTV’s third year of operation.
Though pounds 1 million might seem relatively modest, it’s not bad
considering how much money GMTV had to offer the Government for the
privilege of taking over the franchise. It pays a pounds 35 million a
year flat rate, plus 15 per cent of its total revenue. In 1995 this
worked out at pounds 12.2 million.
So GMTV did pretty well. It took pounds 80 million in spot advertising
in 1995, up 8 per cent on the previous year. And it reported a
substantial year-on-year increase in sponsorship revenue. Since Chris
Evans left its Channel 4 rival, the Big Breakfast, GMTV’s viewing
figures have grown and revenue has chased the audience.
GMTV’s sales director, Clive Crouch, puts this success down to its
consistent sales policy and positioning. ‘We do a lot of client deals
and we will trade off either the fixed or floating price. Though we are
primarily a national sales operation, we have increased the macro
options available to regional advertisers,’ he says.
So the publication of Media Sales and Marketing’s survey into sales
operations was a little unfortunate. Or fortunate, depending on the way
you look at it. It revealed that few media buyers consider GMTV’s sales
operation to be a major player in the market.
Hardly surprising, given the specialist nature of the breakfast TV
market. But it does make you wonder if GMTV would do even better if it
handed its sales over to a bigger sales organisation - one with real
all-round leverage in the market.
Agencies tend to think not. ‘It is a specialist sell,’ Paul Woolmington,
the managing director of 20/20 Media, argues. ‘If it went into a larger
organisation, it would be sold as just another ITV day-part, which would
be a huge mistake. It is very good at playing to its strengths and
targeting the clients that will place the highest value on what it has
‘As for its profile - yes, it should be a worry, but not that much of a
worry. The point is that if you’re not interested in the breakfast
audience, then GMTV won’t chase you and it will be totally invisible.
But if you are in that market it takes on a huge importance. If it were
swallowed up in a sales house it might not have a profile at all.’