C5 presses ITC to let it run ‘masthead TV’ programmes

Channel 5 is lobbying to be allowed to run “masthead programming” – shows based on magazines – when it launches next year.

The Independent Television Commission (ITC) is consulting broadcasters on changes planned for its sponsorship regulations next year. Included is a proposal to allow cable and satellite channels, but not terrestrial channels, to turn magazine brands into TV pro-grammes (MW September 27).

ITV and Channel 4 will also make submissions to the ITC asking for the restrictions to be lifted on terrestrial TV, but C5 is known to be pushing hardest. It believes well-known magazines will help to bring viewers to its largely unknown output.

C5’s limited programme budget – about 110m – will rely heavily on magazine-style studio programmes. Even if the ITC keeps terrestrial restrictions on the use of magazine brands as programme names, C5 plans to use the expertise of magazine companies to make its shows.

The most likely supplier of programmes would be the National Magazine Company, which currently contributes editorial to Granada Sky Broadcasting programmes.

NatMags has been at the forefront of efforts to get the restrictions lifted and is keen to see magazine brands such as Good Housekeeping and Cosmopolitan turned into TV programmes.

Sources deny there have been talks between C5 and NatMags.

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