10m budget to spearhead ITV’s defence against Channel 5 threat

ITV is planning to increase its marketing budget to 10m next year and to set up a full marketing department to protect its ratings from Channel 5’s launch.

The network is discussing whether to appoint an executive marketing director to work independently of the ITV marketing group (MW August 16). That role is now expected to be supported by four divisional heads and a full support staff. This investment would amount to over 500,000 a year.

ITV will spend 6m on advertising its programmes this year and add an extra 4m for 1997. At present, ITV uses M&C Saatchi for its creative account and The Network for media buying.

The network also revealed its 800m programming strategy to advertisers this week. It will make extra investment in drama and comedy on Saturday nights in response to complaints from advertisers about its ratings earlier in the year.

The network’s Saturday ratings suffered against BBC1’s Casualty and the National Lottery during the spring and summer.

The channel has revamped its Saturday Shane Richie programme and has yet to decide whether to recom-mission Man O Man, which has attracted criticism from advertisers (MW May 31).

ITV’s strategy is based around “event” programming – movie premieres, drama serials, more comedy and its new Formula One package.

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