ITV director of channels David Liddiment has struck back at critics denouncing the performance of ITV1’s The Premiership programme, saying that he was “delighted” with “excellent” viewing figures.
He said that last Saturday’s 7pm Premiership football highlights programme would not be rescheduled, even if viewing figures were to continue at the level of its first showing, which recorded 4.3 million viewers. The BBC, which scheduled a special edition of The Weakest Link at the same time, recorded 6.7 million viewers.
Contrary to some reports in the press, Liddiment also denied that there would be changes made to The Premiership programme itself.
Speaking at the unveiling of the Autumn ITV programme schedule, he said: “Winning the ratings battle on the first night of the season was not our benchmark of success. In its first week in the middle of August more people watched the programme than the average for the whole of last season’s Match of the Day.”
ITV1 has also been criticised by fans for the number of ads shown during the programme, which the channel claims were within the Independent Television Commission’s rules.
Liddiment backed advertisers, saying: “It’s the advertisers that paid for these rights. I thought the advertising looked sensational. There were some real cracking ads in there.”
MindShare bought the whole of the first ad break for clients, which included Ford, Nike, IBM and Kit Kat (MW August 9).