Advertisers to re-routeTV spends

Almost 90 per cent of advertisers are planning to pull some of their budgets from TV because of ITV’s airtime inflation and declining audience share.

According to a survey of 48 advertisers conducted last month by advertising consultancy Media Audits, 82 per cent of advertisers are planning to use other commercial TV channels. Sixty-six per cent will reduce the number of TV regions they use or their weight of advertising if ITV’s inflation continues.

Forty per cent of those surveyed believe TV inflation is riding at between 16 and 20 per cent for the audiences they want to reach, while 79 per cent believe inflation will remain above 11 per cent next year.

The advertisers, who spend 480m annually on media, want to see ITV improve its daytime and off-peak programming to improve audiences. They also want it to screen more major sport and move News at Ten.

Tony Ayers, chief executive of Media Audits, says: “When we asked advertisers what changes would make the most difference to them they concentrated on the long-term benefits of increasing ITV’s programme investment or getting advertising on BBC rather than increasing advertising minutage.”

The advertisers surveyed are cautious about ITV’s ability to improve its ratings, with only 32 per cent believing the autumn season will improve ratings, while 57 per cent are undecided.

However, 40 per cent of respondents are not aware of the detail of ITV’s autumn schedule.

v Car manufacturers have postponed a meeting planned for this month with the ITV sales houses to discuss the channel’s airtime inflation.

BSkyB adds seven more channels

BSkyB is adding seven programme strands to its autumn line up and redesigning its on-screen identity.

Disney and the Playboy Channel – which have already been announced – will be joined by European Business News, a Paramount Channel, from the eponymous film studio, Sky Sports Gold, which will show re-runs of classic sports fixtures, a history channel and a science fiction channel.

The move coincides with the redesign of BSkyB’s corporate identity, which will break on air on September 24 as part of its 100m autumn season.

The new on-screen identity will modernise the “Sky look” and be more easily adapted to cover the new services, says Sky head of programming David Elstein. “It readies Sky for the digital age,” he adds.

Speaking at the launch of Sky’s largest ever new season of programming on Monday, Elstein said the 100m-plus investment in the autumn marks an attempt to consolidate the recent growth in satellite viewing.

Satellite channels are received in only 20 per cent of UK TV homes, but during the summer

they achieved a 9.4 per cent share of all UK TV viewing, he says.

Elstein says Sky TV’s aut-umn season entails significant increased investment in Sky

One programming. New series include the latest Star Trek series, Star Trek Voyager, and VR.5, which Sky claims is “the first virtual reality TV series”.

Sky will also air the ITV religious soap Revelations. The channel will re-run the first series and has commissioned 26 new episodes.

Sky Sports highlights include live coverage of the 1995 Johnnie Walker Ryder Cup, the FA Carling Premiership and England’s cricket tour of South Africa. It will run movie premieres such as Jurassic Park, Philadelphia and The Pelican Brief. A 100 Great Movies season will run in November.

Sky confirmed this week it has invested 750,000 in Richard III, a new movie adaptation starring Ian McKellan and Maggie Smith. The film is released in UK cinemas next spring. Sky has UK TV rights.

(See agencies, page 13)

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