MTV retains its leader status

I am writing to express the MTV Networks’ disappointment at an article in Marketing Week (April 22). The article seeks to lay out the competitive environment in which MTV operates, but uses an incomplete and misleading set of data. The key facts are:

The ITC statistics used show The Box is available in 2.1 million cable homes, compared with MTV, which is available in 2.06 million homes. The potential cable audience is therefore slightly bigger for The Box. This is because The Box is free to cable operators to carry, whereas MTV is not.

In these cable homes reached by MTV and The Box, the actual audience watching MTV is, on average, 64 per cent larger than the audience watching The Box (Source: BARB/

AGB, January-March 1999).

In addition, MTV is available 24 hours a day in 3.1 million analogue BSkyB satellite homes and The Box is not. Your article failed to mention this massive audience differential.

In summary, in an average month MTV reaches 10.5 million actual viewers, whereas The Box reaches only 3.6 million. MTV retains undisputed market leadership in the UK.

Michiel Bakker

Managing director

MTV Networks, UK and Ireland

The ITC figures cover subscribers to cable channels, not merely those whose homes have been passed. Only in the restricted sense that their TV sets may be turned off or tuned elsewhere could viewers be regarded as “potential”. However, we accept the article did not include analogue satellite homes in its analysis of market share. The ITC figures do not cover these – Editor

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