Will ITV's 'new Daybreak' work for advertisers?

Could the new format turn ITV's breakfast slot into an attractive offering for advertisers, David Benady asks.

ITV is assembling a new cast of faces to front its breakfast offering in the latest bid to boost the fortunes of the flagging early-morning slot.

The broadcaster has scored a coup by poaching the BBC Breakfast presenter Susanna Reid (for a rumoured £1 million salary) to launch Good Morning Britain later this year, replacing the current Daybreak. But do advertisers really care?

According to sources, ITV breakfast – which is traded separately from the rest of ITV – brings in about £55 million in advertising revenue a year for the 6am-9.25am slot. This is a tiny proportion of the broadcaster’s £1.5 billion overall revenues.

The ITV breakfast audience is two-thirds female and appeals to FMCG advertisers keen to connect with the main household buyer. But media agencies argue that the viewership needs to be broadened.

It certainly appears to be a battle worth fighting. ITV has research showing that ads viewed in the morning are more likely to cut through than at other times of the day. Rival breakfast offers on Channel 4 and Channel 5 are negligible, although there has been a migration to digital channels – Sky Media is hot on ITV’s heels, driven by Sky News’ Sunrise With Eamonn Holmes. So there is much to play for.

Daybreak, the format that replaced GMTV in 2010, has been through a number of changes but has struggled to find a winning formula.

Average audiences for the show are languishing at 600,000, with a peak of 1.1 million – about one-third of BBC Breakfast’s 1.5 million average viewers and 2.5 million peak viewers. What’s more, the BBC show attracts a more upmarket and male-oriented, albeit much older, audience: ITV breakfast’s audience is 76 per cent female compared with the BBC’s 51 per cent male.

If Reid and her fellow presenters – Ben Shepherd, Charlotte Hawkins and Sean Fletcher – can bring a dose of gravitas to Good Morning Britain, this could entice viewers from the BBC and attract a broader set of advertisers.

With a revamp, ITV breakfast could become a more compelling proposition to advertisers. Is now the time for ITV to get its morning mojo back?


NO Ruth Cartwright, broadcast director, Maxus

"The focus should remain on whether Daybreak is worth putting on clients’ plans. Daybreak hasn’t found its place – it will only take another round of faces and a format that isn’t appealing to viewers, and it won’t be as vital on plans."

MAYBE Robert Cocker, head of TV trading, Manning Gottlieb OMD

"ITV breakfast performs particularly well for housewives with children, but does not appeal to all advertisers. I think it needs to broaden its appeal to a more discerning audience and draw viewers back from the BBC."

MAYBE Chris Allen, head of vision, Havas Media

"If the tone of it goes more towards news, it can attract more male and upmarket viewers, which is what advertisers want, particularly in London. And, remember, London Live is launching with a very different take on news."

YES Dominic Williams, trading director, Aegis Media

"ITV has been very sensible – for the first time since 2009, it has a team of breakfast specialists coming in to present the show. For FMCG advertisers, it is crucial. I’m very positive with it amending and changing the show."