C4 strikes a first with Sky One ad campaign

Channel 4 has launched its own ad campaign on Sky One – thought to be the first time a terrestrial station has used a satellite channel in its marketing strategy.

The unusual move is being seen as a recognition of the growing threat to Channel 4’s market share from the increase in multichannel homes. Channel 4 has lost its right to promote itself on ITV under changes to its licence.

The advertisement, which ties in with a poster campaign, shows clips from Channel 4’s top entertainment programmes such as Trigger Happy TV, The Priory and So Graham Norton.

It has been made in-house and runs for the next four to six weeks in Sky One shows such as ER and Friends.

Channel 4 controller of marketing Polly Cochrane says: “You ignore multichannel TV at your peril. With certain programmes Sky commands very substantial shares, not a million miles away from Channel 5.”

Broadcasters have always found advertising on rival stations controversial, because of difficulty in the airtime negotiations. Chris Locke, joint managing director of MediaVest, says: “Sky has always had to use the terrestrial stations to sell satellite, it’s never been the other way round. ITV has lowered its targets, blaming digital TV penetration. But Channel 4 has tried to grasp the nettle a bit more.”

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