Agencies are up in arms over ITV’s poor first-quarter schedule as
the network suffered its biggest loss in audience for March since
According to Barb results, ITV’s audience is down 18 per cent across its
entire schedule for the first three weeks in March, compared with the
same period last year.
This is further highlighted by the fact that last year’s figures
recorded an audience increase of 9 per cent across its total
Agencies attribute ITV’s loss in audience to a weak programming schedule
compared with last year, as well as the fact that viewers are switching
to digital TV.
Mike Style, broadcast director at CIA Solutions, said: ’The fact that
ITV is missing its peak targets across its total schedule is due to an
unimaginative line up and lack of audience-driven programmes. However,
March is the most difficult month for ITV because it has to compete with
its own fiercely attractive schedule that was in place at the same
period last year.’
ITV withdrew its News at Ten last March and replaced it with
uninterupted feature films. It also introduced Who Wants to be a
David Jowett, broadcast director at MediaCom TMB, said: ’ITV needs to
prove this is a blip and not a trend. Euro 2000 in June might improve
Agencies now have to explain to clients that they are losing airtime in
March. Jowett continued: ’With the cost of advertising so high and
returns so low, advertisers will get less airtime for their money than
they originally thought. This will drive advertisers into the arms of
David Cuff, broadcast director at Initiative Media, said that flagging
audience figures were due to a lack of strong management.
’ITV has lost its captain in a storm - Richard Eyre would have known
what to do. ITV is lacking incisiveness and strong leadership.’
It was recently announced that the culture, media and sport committee
has told the ITC to put pressure on ITV to reinstate News at Ten.