Content is crucial to C5 Net sponsor night

Bartering with Internet companies for equity could supplement C5’s budget and attract a wider audience, say Mark Collins and Barry Cree

The news that Channel 5 has been talking to an Internet brand about an airtime-for-equity barter deal comes as no surprise. After all, TV airtime and Internet stocks have one thing in common: they’re both prone to inflation.

Although C5 has had a successful year in terms of revenue, its audience delivery is outstripping revenue achievements. C5 has some spare airtime – and barter deals seem a sensible way to get rid of it. It’s not only bartering with Net companies; it has also been involved in barter deals trading airtime for programming, thus supplementing its limited programming budget. Bartering for equity in Net brands, however, offers C5 both a way of attracting more advertisers, and the possibility of making a killing in the long term should any of its barter partners float for the kind of astronomical sums we’ve all been reading about recently.

It’s hard to see a downside. Barter deals can sometimes be used as a way of encouraging a reluctant sector onto a medium. In this case, nothing could be further from the truth. October saw the highest TV revenue to date, largely driven by the influx of big-spending Net brands. C5 may also believe that innovative deals help it to grab a bigger slice of a sector which might be naturally tempted by the more targeted audiences available on satellite.

C5 has also struck a deal with online retailer to sponsor a special Internet Night on Wednesday, December 1 (MW November 18). Up to now, the retailer’s advertising hasn’t given enough information about the brand to attract much of an audience beyond Net-heads. If gets the creative work right, the longer exposure offered by a sponsorship deal could be a step in the right direction.

Is an Internet Night a good idea for C5? On the surface you could argue that C5’s audience profile is wrong for this kind of programming – it’s too old. But it does have individual programmes that deliver younger and more upmarket audiences. Undoubtedly there is potential for C5 to attract a different audience for this one night, assuming that it is promoted well.

On the other hand, a whole evening about the Net could be a big turn-off, literally. The secret of success must ultimately be the same as the secret of success for a Website: content, content, content.

Having seen the planned programming, frankly we’re slightly worried.

Admittedly there’s one documentary called How To Make A Billion and one called Sex, both of which could appeal beyond a techie audience.

But the evening’s centrepiece, a movie called The Net, turns out not to be the blockbuster movie of the same name, starring Sandra Bullock, but a made-for-TV film spin-off.

That’s probably not a bad metaphor for many Internet sites at the moment: they promise a lot, but when you get there, they’re disappointing.

Mark Collins is broadcast director of MediaCom TMB and Barry Cree is director of Media.Com Interactive

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here