Two of the world’s biggest advertisers ambushed ITV Network’s
marketing director, John Hardie, as he delivered the closing speech at
the TV 2000 conference in Lisbon, taking the opportunity to air their
grievances about the commercial channel’s performance.
Angus McIntosh, the European media manager for Mars Pedigree
Masterfoods, and Bernard Balderston, the associate director of UK media
for Procter & Gamble, attacked the channel, with Balderston describing
its daytime performance as ’poor in the extreme’.
In his speech, Hardie emphasised the success of ITV’s peaktime schedule
in drawing in large audiences through investment in ’destination TV’ and
argued that, in a multi-channel age, ITV would continue to deliver large
daily reach numbers.
But McIntosh challenged Hardie’s assertion about the success of ITV.
He said: ’ITV’s performance has been incredibly damaging.’ He said that
Mars was having to downgrade its expectations of its advertising impacts
because of ITV’s failure to deliver audiences. He said that the audience
figures for the first two months of this year were in decline when
compared with last year.
Hardie said: ’We are going through a period of setbacks and the nature
of this business is that this will happen.’ He added, however, that ITV
was confident it would improve its performance.
Balderston asked how ITV planned to improve its daytime performance.
Quoting figures for ITV’s performance during the six months ending in
February for daytime TV, he pointed out that impacts for housewives with
children were down 25.7 per cent while adults aged 16-44 were down 23.6
Balderston referred to ITV’s recent scheduling moves, where Anglia TV’s
chat show Trisha is being moved to an afternoon spot to compete with the
new BBC1 daytime soap Doctors.
’There are real problems in the 1pm to 3.15pm area, which will not be
fixed by Trisha. Daytime is falling way behind where it should be.’
Hardie said that ITV was intent on improving the daytime TV schedule. He
said: ’We did put the majority of our effort into the peak schedule. We
have found it harder in daytime.’
He promised that ITV would try a ’combination of new programme ideas and
investment behind daytime’. He added that with a new daytime
commissioner coming in ’the intent is there’.