ITV acts on quiz sponsor tie-ups

ITV has moved to create a level playing field for newspaper publishers wanting to sponsor network game shows for reader promotions after criticism that some publishers were getting an unfair advantage.

The ITV sponsorship committee this week opened bidding for the three network quiz shows that do not have contractual options with newspaper sponsors – The Midas Touch, Family Fortunes and The Price is Right.

ITV is seeking sponsorship of £3m for the three shows, although sponsorship committee spokesman David Prosser says they are likely to be sold separately. All national newspapers are being approached. The deadline for bidders is midday on April 7.

“Previously we have been criticised for not offering programmes at the same time to everybody,” Prosser explains. He expects “a high level of interest”, especially from News International and Mirror Group.

Agencies voice interest in the programmes on offer, but predict protracted discussions over price. “ITV has recognised the value of game show-themed promotions in the circulation war and increasingly demands a premium,” according to one.

But Prosser counters any suggestion ITV has treated news- paper publishers unfairly by marking up the sponsorship price.

“There’s always been a premium for making a show interactive,” he says. “That’s always been the case, ever since Pot of Gold and the Daily Star. It is reasonable for ITV to place a premium on shows that allow them (an interactive game facility).”

* West Yorkshire Police, Bradford & Bingley Building Society, Yorkshire Water, Joseph Rowntree Trust, Bradford Careers Services, Quest for Education & Development in Bradford and Northern Foods are sponsoring Kaam Ki Baatein, a career information service for the Asian community on Yorkshire TV.

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