Nick Milligan, the sales chief of UK Gold and UK Living, is to be the
first sales director of Channel 5, three years after he led Thames
Television’s failed bid for the fifth terrestrial TV franchise.
Milligan’s name has been linked with the top Channel 5 sales job for
several months, but he finally signed a contract with Channel 5
Broadcasting this week.
Milligan will join the new channel, which is due to launch at the
beginning of 1997, as sales director with a seat on the main board.
He said that the job offered a fantastic opportunity. ‘This is the last
major terrestrial TV launch and the channel has enormous potential,’ he
commented. A recent report from Goldman Sachs predicted that the channel
would take pounds 99 million in ad revenue in its first year.
Milligan is expected to begin talking to agencies about Channel 5 early
next spring, ‘though the most important thing to me right now is to
secure Gold and Living’s revenue for 1996’, he added.
Observers believe that UK Gold’s sales force, which numbers more than 25
people, will follow Milligan to the new channel. The team, which media
buyers recently voted the most professional of all TV sales forces
(Campaign, 8 September), has been with Milligan for several years,
previously working at Thames Television. However, Milligan will have to
more than double the size of his team to handle Channel 5.
A new satellite sales house is now being developed to sell Gold and
Living alongside their sister United Artists Programming channels,
including Discovery and Bravo. All of the channels share a parent
company - Flextech - and Milligan is said to have been asked to lay the
foundations for a group sales team. After Milligan’s departure, it now
seems likely that the sales house will be managed by the UAP sales team,
headed by Richard Burdett.
Milligan claimed that the pending judicial review of the Independent
Television Commission’s decision to award the Channel 5 licence to
Channel 5 Broadcasting would not delay plans for the channel’s launch.