Channel 5 and ITV squared up to each other this week as both laid
out their armoury for Channel 5’s first week on air.
ITV launched its opening salvo against Channel 5 by announcing that
Emmerdale will be stripped five days a week around a specially written
storyline. The programme will go out in the peaktime 7pm slot across the
week, with a one-hour special on the Tuesday night.
In addition, ITV has also lined up a two-hour drama special, the
Vanishing Man, starring Neil Morrissey, and a screening of the movie,
Ace Ventura - Pet Detective.
The shows will be up against the much-vaunted ’stripped and stranded’
schedule of Channel 5, which will boast an original drama on the opening
night, Beyond Fear: The Stephanie Slater Story.
Regular features include a nightly soap, Family Affairs, a celebrity
gossip show, Exclusive, at 7pm and a movie every evening at 9pm.
Channel 5’s marketing director, David Brook, also unveiled the first ads
to be created by the channel’s ’dream team’, Team 5. The posters use
characters from Channel 5 programmes with straplines to emphasise the
One, featuring the actor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, uses the line: ’He
never said, ’I’ll be back after the news’.’ It refers to the fact that
movies will not be broken by news bulletins - as is currently the case
on ITV. Channel 5’s evening news will go out at 8pm.
Nick Milligan, Channel 5’s sales director, said that the channel would
take 5 per cent of all TV viewing between April and December, helping to
ease television airtime inflation by offering advertisers an alternative
Milligan laid out the channel’s sales charter, which includes the
following guarantees: to sell all commercial impacts; not to do agency
deals; to sell around 80 per cent of airtime against fixed prices by
1988 to reward supporting advertisers with any spare airtime and include
specials within deals.
Milligan said money will be available for special programme purchases -
such as the rights to the England versus Poland World Cup qualifier in
May - if there is enough advertising interest.
Paul Longhurst, the media director of Ammirati Puris Lintas, said:
’They’re telling advertisers that they can buy programming at any price
as long as it will attract sufficient ad revenue. Nick Milligan is ahead
of the game, but it could push programming and advertising costs
in operating this wayWhile media buyers welcomed Channel 5’s schedule
presentation as ’slick and professional’, some questioned whether the
over-emphasis on news and movies betrayed less confidence in other areas
of the schedule.
’There was a lot of smoke and mirrors about the channel’s sports
coverage,’ said one TV buyer. ’All the talk was about England/Poland,
but that’s just one night. They can package and brand the channel as
much as they like, but it’s about the product at the end of the day, and
there seem to be some segments that need more work.’