ITV fails to grasp its opportunity

“Develop or die” was the theme of the TV95 television advertising conference in Monte Carlo last week. While much has changed since the last event two years ago, as much, it seems, has not. Competition in the British market is now “a full-scale artillery barrage”, said conference chairman Harry Turner. The ITV franchise holders are no longer “new”, and the supply of new niche channels continues apace. But advertisers’ concerns about competition and choice have become more acute. Pleas were heard for an increase in supply of commercial minutage, be it through extra airtime on commercial channels, BBC1, BBC2 or the long-awaited Channel 5. Yet these issues and more – notably, renewed fears about media inflation – were inadequately addressed. Some 80 or so advertisers voiced concern at broadcasters’ apparent complacency. “Of those questions that were actually raised, none was properly followed up,” said one. “We should be hear to discuss ads not programming. I don’t want to wait until TV97 to have these issues addressed,” said another.

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