NEWS: C5 to launch with own sales team

Channel 5 will have its own dedicated airtime sales team selling the channel to advertisers and agencies when it is launched at the beginning of 1997.

Channel 5 will have its own dedicated airtime sales team selling the

channel to advertisers and agencies when it is launched at the beginning

of 1997.



Nick Milligan, the sales director of UK Gold, is the favoured candidate

to head a Channel 5 sales operation. However, Milligan refused to

comment on the rumours this week.



Channel 5 Broadcasting, winner of the franchise announced last Friday,

is also being forecast by TV buyers to take as much as pounds 200

million in revenue in its first year of operation.



Greg Dyke, the chief executive of Pearson Television, the company

leading the Channel 5 Broadcasting consortium, said last week that

‘Channel 5 is unlikely to be sold alongside anybody else’.



Dyke would not be drawn on the level of advertising revenue the station

hopes to take, but estimates from agencies vary wildly.



A report from J. Walter Thompson expects the new channel to take pounds

65 million in ad revenue in its first year, rising to pounds 160 million

by the year 2001, while Initiative Media is forecasting a first-year

revenue of pounds 200 million. However, sources suggest that revenue is

likely to be around the pounds 100 million mark in the initial year.



In terms of its positioning in the airtime marketplace, agencies are

predicting that Channel 5 will be sold at about a 40 per cent discount

to the average price of total TV advertising. But sources claim the

discount is likely to be closer to 20 per cent.



JWT’s revenue forecasts are based on Channel 5 taking a 3 per cent share

of viewing in 1997, its first year, and 5 per cent by 2001. Dyke said of

the projected figures: ‘If we get a 10 per cent share of the audience in

non-satellite homes by the end of our second year, we’ll be doing really

well.’



Channel 5’s programming proposals are based on a stripped schedule with

a daily soap at 6:30pm, general entertainment from 7 to 8pm, news from

ITN at 8pm, adult education/factual programming from 8.30 to 9pm and

films or drama from 9pm.



Alongside Pearson, the Channel 5 Broadcasting consortium also includes

MAI, which owns the ITV companies, Meridian and Anglia.



Headliner, page 19