Rugby may score 1.5m for ITV

Rob Andrew’s dramatic lastminute drop goal could help ITV earn an additional 1.5m from the Rugby World Cup, agencies believe.

Andrew’s kick helped England defeat reigning champions Australia before a registered TV audience of about 7 million. The actual figure was undoubtedly much higher, as the game started when the pubs opened and would have enjoyed a large communal, and therefore unmeasured, audience.

The game was especially attractive to advertisers because it draws the ABC1 male light TV viewer in particular, achieving a rating average of 20, or 2.3 million ABC1 men. Andrew’s kick means that this hard-to-reach target market will be available in still higher numbers for next weekend’s semi-final against New Zealand. And that in turn means financial, car and drink advertisers, who are especially keen to reach this demographic, will have to pay dearly for the privilege.

IDK Media director Edward Lloyd-Barnes estimates the semi-final will pull in an audience of 8.5 million and achieve close to 30 ABC1 men ratings. The final will do better still.

J Walter Thompson broadcast director Bill Barker says he believes ITV could extract a 40 per cent premium from the semi-final. That could increase to 90 per cent for the final, should England defeat the All Blacks, and net at least 1.5m in additional revenue for the month.

“The increase is limited to 1.5m only because there are just three minutes of airtime at half time, against the seven minutes at the last World Cup,” he explains.

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