Video is still playing in the major league

Torin Douglas’ article “Video vies for ITV viewers” (MW April 14) re-emphasised many of the key issues concerning the multi-channel, home-viewing debate.

Blockbuster’s advertising investment of £14m for the video medium this year displays the confidence of a company and an industry that has weathered the bad times and is poised to capitalise on the significant upturn in video renting. Indeed, rental video is still the primary route for people in the UK to view first-run feature films and, with nearly 4 million transactions a week, it remains a healthy business.

Of interest to me was the comment by Martin Bowley of Carlton TV. With all due respect to Kavanagh QC, one of the network’s better pieces of programming, his comment that “the video playback had more viewers than the combined rental of Schindler’s List and Four Weddings and a Funeral” indicates a man sadly at odds with BARB data.

For the record, the present BARB tracking of these two films has a combined audience of 6.75 million viewers. Now unless nearly 30 per cent of Kavanagh’s viewers watch the programmes on time-shift, Bowley does both his industry and ours a disservice by this type of glib comment. He might also like to know that Four Weddings has to date generated more 16 to 34-year-old adult viewers than the total all-individual, time-shift viewing figure for all Kavanagh episodes.

Finally, I wonder if Bowley knows how many TV advertisers are pleased to source the quality of programme that video offers two years before it becomes available to them on the network and at a fraction of the price. ITV remains the big hitter in multichannel homes but, as in any well-balanced side, there is always room for the quality players, even if they might be slightly smaller-sized.

Christopher Polley

General manager

Video division

RSA Advertising

London W1

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here