Media Awards 2010: TV Sales Team of the Year - Channel 5

Over the past 12 months, the Channel 5 sales team set itself one over-arching objective - to be the most commercial UK broadcaster.

The aim was to achieve this goal by being more creative, more commercially focused than its rivals and to turn a relative lack of scale into a positive by developing bespoke ad solutions.

Having identified the goal of becoming "The Home for Commercial Opportunities", the team restructured to ensure that everyone, from the programmers and schedulers to the marketing and sales teams, worked together to understand the objective and work together to achieve it.

Clients responded by investing more of their budgets with Channel 5, resulting in an increase in commercial revenues of 53 per cent on the previous year. New advertisers at the station ranged from the sublime, in the form of the classical violinist Andrew Rieu, to the populist, with Supercasino.

Rieu went from being an unknown in the UK to an unprecedented 20-week chart-topping sensation as a result of Channel 5 supporting him on-air before agreeing a risk-taking revenue share airtime deal with Decca Records. And Supercasino, which sponsors Channel 5's late-night schedule, has seen the amount bet on its site each month rise to a staggering £35 million since going on-air.

In fact, around 80 per cent of Channel 5's programming is now sponsored, and the broadcaster demonstrated its ability to drive more revenue out of these deals with ideas such as The Gadget Show Live at the NEC, to extend its partnership with the sponsor Dixons.

Branded content is also proving a major area of growth, with advertisers funding shows such as Chinese Food In Minutes (Sharwoods), Celebrity Quitters (NHS), Family Food Fight (Flora), Britain's Best Brain (Nintendo) and many more. Over the past 12 months, Channel 5 has commissioned more than 100 hours of branded content with a production value of several million pounds.

The channel also demonstrated an innovative approach to creating one-off events for important client launches, such as Disney Pixar's Up, which was promoted on Channel 5 with bespoke trails and sponsorship credits for another of the studio's hits, Monsters Inc, when it aired. It is also working on developing advertising opportunities to go with its video-on-demand offering, revenues from which have doubled over the past year.

After a period of uncertainty, the Channel 5 sales team is now looking forward to working with the Northern & Shell sales teams, following its acquisition by Richard Desmond earlier this year. This will present further challenges for cross-media sales.

The team believes it has the structure in place to make the most of the new opportunities afforded it.


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