Background The price war raging between Alta Vista and BT over the
cost of internet access has prompted communications giant NTL to enter
the fray. It has just launched a UK-wide internet service called NTL
World, which offers its residential customers free internet access, and
a TV service is to follow shortly.
The move fits perfectly with NTL’s mission to deliver virtually any kind
of communication, ’from anywhere to anywhere’, by whatever medium is the
most effective. This strategy has paid dividends in the UK, where NTL
delivers TV, internet and interactive services to more than one million
homes and businesses.
When it completes its acquisition of Cable & Wireless’s consumer
operations, NTL will be the UK’s largest cable operator. It already
offers tailor-made packages and campaign management services to local
businesses that want to run ads on cable and satellite channels in their
NTL clearly has the critical mass it needs to shape the way other
companies advertise, but how does its own adspend and media strategy
Media agency Media buying and planning is through Carat, while J. Walter
Thompson handles NTL’s creative work.
Total spend and the media mix NTL spent pounds 13.3 million on
advertising in the 12 months to January 2000, with an ad strategy
strongly focused on broadcast media and regional press and posters.
Levels of expenditure fluctuated greatly over the year - there was a
pounds 3.9 million TV campaign in June and July, and another pounds 2.9
million campaign during September to November.
Spend across all other media was spread fairly evenly throughout the
year, although there was a sharp rise in expenditure on press and radio
in June/July to support the television campaign.
NTL advertised on 98 television channels last year - including 33 Astra
channels - but 97 per cent of its total pounds 7.3 million TV spend went
Its choice of channels reflects the company’s strong cable presence in
regional centres. The channels that attracted the most adspend were LWT
(pounds 1.2 million), Central (pounds 920,000), Anglia (pounds 490,000),
Granada (pounds 400,000) and Yorkshire (pounds 370,000).
There was a similarly strong regional focus in NTL’s press
The top six titles were The Sunday Times, Financial Times and the Daily
Telegraph - taking a combined spend of pounds 473,039 - and the Daily
Record, Glasgow Herald and Teeside Evening Gazette, which took a total
of pounds 388,845.
Direct mail also targeted key regions, with 71 per cent sent to the
London, Central and Anglia areas.
Conclusions NTL’s success to date has been in bringing fast,
high-capacity communication links to UK consumers and businesses through
its heavy investment in cable and satellite. It is already stressing the
benefits to advertisers of using its networks.
In the future we can expect an increased focus on creating even faster
voice, vision and data services, backed by increased levels of
Research by AC Nielsen MMS, telephone: 01344-627553