Last year, ITV’s proposal to move its News at Ten bulletin met with
stiff opposition from the public and Government. The network hoped that
the move, and other scheduling adjustments, would make peak-time slots
more flexible, allow feature films to continue past 10pm - uninterrupted
by the news - and so meet the ambitious peak-time share targets set by
commercial director, John Hardie.
At a recent presentation to agencies and advertisers, Hardie confirmed
that the channel is on course to achieve its peak-time share target of
39 per cent - share is currently running at 38.9 per cent. Indeed, chief
executive Richard Eyre assured advertisers that ITV would remain their
’best route to mass communication by a mile’ in the digital future.
Eyre claims people will want to interact with brands in the new digital
environment, which means strengthening the ITV brand now is crucial. ’I
believe that this relationship is going to underpin ITV’s proposition in
the future and preserve for you the neutron bomb of British advertising
- ITV peak-time - which still delivers a marketing punch out of all
proportion to any and all alternatives,’ he told advertisers and
In terms of ratings, however, ITV’s performance for the first eight
months of this year does not look especially strong. Between January and
August, weekday peak-time ratings for adults were lower than 1997
figures for six of the eight months and far from consistently higher
than 1998. In August this year, an average minute of the ITV peak-time
schedule was being watched by 13.0 per cent of the adult TV population;
in August 1998 this was 12.4 per cent, but in 1997 the figure was 13.5
per cent and in August 1996 was higher still at 14.8 per cent.
According to the figures from the Institute of Practitioners in
Advertising, ITV’s peak-time share of viewing for the second quarter of
1999 came in at 37.5 per cent, below the network’s target.
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