Extra homes could delay launch of C5

Channel 5 is in danger of dropping off advertisers’ schedules for the first quarter of 1997 after it confirmed it may delay its launch to retune an extra 1.8 million homes allocated by the Government this week.

C5 says that adding the homes covered by a new frequency, previously allocated for digital mobile TV, will “inevitably” delay the retuning programme which it wants to carry out in one sweep.

The channel maintains that it will not know for another two weeks whether it is on target to hit the January 1 launch date. But it is believed to be considering a delay of between one and three months.

“We are on the verge of taking them off our plans for the first quarter,” says the media director of a major media agency. “We can’t wait to see if they will be ready.”

But other agencies have welcomed the move. “At least it now has much more even levels of penetration, especially in Meridian and Anglia,” says Paul Taylor, joint media director of BMP DDB.”January is still far away enough for actual media plans to be unaffected.”

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