NEWS: HOTLINE

The launch of Channel 5 could be delayed until 1998 following a High Court ruling on Wednesday that allows Virgin Television to pursue a judicial review of the Independent Television Commission’s decision to allocate the licence to Channel 5 Broadcasting. Virgin bid the same cash sum as Channel 5 Broadcasting (pounds 22.002 million), but its offer was rejected by the ITC on the grounds of quality. A full review will be heard in 1996, and the ITC could be forced to start the bidding procedure again from scratch. An ITC spokesman said the ITC was confident that it acted in a ‘fair and proper manner’.

The launch of Channel 5 could be delayed until 1998 following a High

Court ruling on Wednesday that allows Virgin Television to pursue a

judicial review of the Independent Television Commission’s decision to

allocate the licence to Channel 5 Broadcasting. Virgin bid the same cash

sum as Channel 5 Broadcasting (pounds 22.002 million), but its offer was

rejected by the ITC on the grounds of quality. A full review will be

heard in 1996, and the ITC could be forced to start the bidding

procedure again from scratch. An ITC spokesman said the ITC was

confident that it acted in a ‘fair and proper manner’.



Kingfisher has reduced the five-strong shortlist for its pounds 70

million media buying account to three. It is in ‘continuing discussions’

with TMD Carat, CIA Medianetwork and the incumbent, Zenith Media.

Kingfisher expects to announce a decision by the end of this month. Both

Mediastar and MediaCom have dropped out of the race.



D’Arcy Masius Benton and Bowles and Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO are said by

Whitehall sources to be running ‘neck and neck’ as they prepare for a

final shoot-out next Monday for the pounds 5 million-a-year Department

of Transport account, currently held by DMB&B. Leagas Shafron Davis,

Delaney Fletcher Bozell and Grey were eliminated after the initial

pitches last week.



M&C Saatchi’s joint creative director, James Lowther, has been acting as

a consultant to Courage and performing an ‘advisory role’ on a new

cinema commercial for Foster’s Ice. The move fuels speculation that the

pounds 6 million Foster’s account will be awarded to the agency.

However, a Courage spokesman said: ‘We are not ready to award the

business yet’.



Don Gray, circulation and marketing manager at Express Newspapers, has

dismissed strong industry speculation that the Daily Star is in danger

of closing as ‘absolute nonsense’. The Star, which recorded an ABC of

748,336 in October, has cut its cover price from 25p to 20p in the south

of England and Scotland to capitalise on the demise of Today. Meanwhile,

the Independent has so far resisted the temptation to follow in the

footsteps of the Daily Telegraph and the Times, which have put their

cover prices up by 5p.



Granada Television has announced pre-tax profits of pounds 140 million,

up 65 per cent, for the year to 30 September 1995. The company is

expected to announce details of a raft of new satellite TV channels in

the next few weeks. The channels, to be joint ventures with BSkyB, will

feature library material, such as old episodes of Coronation Street,

children’s programming and possibly sport.



Jean Richardson, managing director of Hungry Eye Commercials, is

understood to have left the company. Hungry Eye was set up one year ago

by the Dutch production company, Thed Lenssen Films, with a roster of

ten directors, including Peter Richardson. No-one at the company would

confirm her departure.



STV is thought to be preparing to bid for HTV in the coming weeks. The

imminent Broadcasting Bill is expected to open the floodgates for a

further round of takeovers within ITV, with STV a prime target for

acquisition. However, the company is now thought to be considering its

own predatory move.



UK Gold has arrived at a shortlist of two agencies to pitch for its

pounds 4 million creative account. GGT and Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe

are to go through to the second round, and their creative proposals will

be tested around the country. Mitchell Patterson Aldred Mitchell and

Delaney Fletcher Bozell also pitched.