Advertisers are prepared to stick with ITV1's The Premiership
programme after it launched with lower viewing figures than the BBC's
The Weakest Link.
While most are happy with the 7pm time slot, including sponsors
Coca-Cola and Barclaycard, in order to reach a younger, more upmarket
male audience, media agencies are warning that programme content needs
to improve quickly.
The Premiership only managed 4.3 million viewers, beaten hands down by
The Weakest Link's 6.7 million.
More football action, less chat and a slicker format are required,
Mark Jarvis, the broadcast director at Carat, said: "I'm disappointed as
a buyer by how badly it did. Blind Date did eight million at the same
time, so I think it's on at the wrong time."
Paul Benson, the TV account director at Universal McCann, echoed this
opinion. "I don't see it staying at the 7pm slot unless ratings pick up.
But ITV has the flexibility to do that and the content will improve," he
ITV's director of channels, David Liddiment, made it clear that he was
committed to the 7pm time slot when ITV1's autumn schedule was
officially launched this week.
However, the editorial content of the programme will be improved. ITV's
spokesman, Paul Tyrrell, said: "We are in it for the long haul and David
Liddiment also said at the launch that the programme format will evolve
over the season."
Jonathan Allan, the TV director at OMD UK, which has Barclaycard as a
client, said: "It performed in line with our expectations considering
it's August and the BBC scheduled a very strong programme against
Tyrrell denied reports that ITV had been flooded with complaints about
the amount of advertising during The Premiership, saying "very few" fans
contacted ITV directly. "Viewers are used to watching football on
digital where there are even more ad breaks than ITV1," he added.
Liddiment unveiled ITV1's autumn schedule on Tuesday. It includes 2DTV,
a new cartoon satire, and Night and Day, a soap with two different
editions with material suitable for an early and late slot.