The Independent Television Commission has opened a potential
goldmine for magazine publishers by giving the green light for
mainstream terrestrial TV programmes based on existing publications,
according to exclusive research conducted for Campaign by CIA
As the ITC extended the scope of ’masthead’ TV programmes beyond cable
and satellite channels, CIA questioned a 1,000-strong cross-section of
the British viewing public about what they thought of the idea.
More than half the existing readers of all bar one of the 12 titles
named in the research said they would watch a TV show of the title’s
Readers of women’s lifestyle titles were the least enthusiastic about
seeing their magazine on television. Only 44 per cent of Marie Claire
readers, 55 per cent of Hello! readers and 57 per cent of Cosmopolitan
readers would watch a television show bearing the magazine name,
according to the survey.
In contrast, 75 per cent of Economist readers would watch an Economist
TV show. Other magazines gaining widespread approval from existing
readers were FHM (70 per cent) and both Good Housekeeping and Ideal Home
(67 per cent).
The research identified a second potential problem for women’s
magazines: while readers are biased towards an ABC1 profile, those
saying they would watch the TV programme were largely C2DE.
David Fletcher, managing director of CIA MediaLab, summarised the
findings as positive. ’The expectation of quality is high and the
intention to watch is high.’
Terry Mansfield, managing director of the National Magazine Company,
said there was no reason for TV shows to go downmarket. ’Dumbing down
the magazine TV programme can only damage the brand’s integrity and
alienate its core audience,’ he commented.
The ITC’s new rules should be in place by September. However, the
regulator is keen not to blur the distinction between editorial content
and advertising and is proposing that programmes may not be a television
version of current editions of the parent publication and that
similarities in editorial content must be confined to general subject
It proposes tighter rules on oral and visual references to the title
within the programme and prohibits references to the parent publication
or articles within it.
Colin Reeve-Smith, the managing director of IPC’s international and
business enterprises division, said the restrictions would hamper the
extension of women’s titles, but believed IPC’s specialist sports and
music, and country and leisure groups would be well placed to take