NTL to sponsor Millionaire TV quiz show

NTL, the US-owned cable and communications giant, has won a five-way battle for the sponsorship rights of Carlton TV’s hit quiz show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

Carlton claims that “no sponsor has been confirmed,” and refuses to say which companies are taking part in the bidding. But sources say that a deal has been struck with NTL through its media agency Carat.

Details are sketchy, but one observer says NTL is likely to pay over &£1m a series – a rise on the &£2.5m over three series paid by previous sponsor Jacobs. That deal was also negotiated by Carat.

Jacobs announced it was dropping the sponsorship earlier this month after using it as a brand building exercise (MW February 3).

NTL refused to comment. But the company is keen to build its profile in the UK following its proposed takeover of the household cable and telephone business Cable & Wireless Communications. The sponsorship would help to give the brand the recognition it craves.

NTL has also bought stakes in football clubs Aston Villa and Newcastle. The company may bid for the FA Premier League rights, and is part of the consortium bidding for interactive TV rights for horse racing.

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