The advertising industry must stop whingeing about ITV and be more
supportive of the UK’s largest commercial channel as audiences fragment
in the digital era, delegates at Campaign’s Digital Television
conference were told this week.
According to Paul Longhurst, the media director of Ammirati Puris
Lintas, ITV will become increasingly important as a communications tool
to leverage large, quality audiences as the industry moves to a fully
fledged multi-channel environment.
Longhurst told delegates at the conference, What’s On Channel 400
Tonight?, that they should change their attitude towards ITV, investing
more in the channel and treating it as a marketing partner.
’What we should do is accept that the value of ITV as the main delivery
vehicle for mass-market audiences in the future is not necessarily the
same as price,’ Longhurst said, with reference to continuing complaints
about the rising cost of advertising on ITV.
At the same time, agencies should make ITV more accountable through
guaranteed investment in quality programmes that attract good audiences,
If ITV were to continue at its current rate of decline, Longhurst
predicted that by the year 2005 its audience share would have fallen by
10 per cent to 22 per cent. At the same time, around 11 million homes
could be hooked up to multi-channel TV by 2005 and the majority of those
would access it via digital technology, he said.
Edward Lloyd Barnes, a director of the Negotiation Centre, told
delegates that, for major advertisers, the introduction of digital TV
would lead to price rises on mainstream channels and a reduction of TV’s
ability to build short-term cover. For minor advertisers, however,
digital would mean a cheaper entry price and greater opportunities for
Richard Burdett, the vice-president of marketing for Flextech, gave the
media owner’s perspective, telling delegates that more channels would
mean new advertising opportunities. He said channels would concentrate
less on competing to maximise their share of impacts and look at
creating solus ad breaks, shorter breaks and even themed breaks to make
commercials work harder.