I read with interest Amanda Wilkinson’s story about ITV director of channels David Liddiment’s response to criticisms of The Premiership football highlights programme (MW last week).
Although he stood by the viewing figures of the first show, saying: “In its first weekmore people watched the programme than the average for the whole of last season’s Match of the Day,” I think he missed the point. Surely the average viewing figures for a programme are going to be lower than for one programme, such as the first one of the new football season. A truer comparison would have been between the viewing figures of the first Premiership programme of the season and the figures for the first Match of the Day last season. As a football fan, after long months of nothing but tennis, golf and cricket, I look forward to the start of the season and would think that the first highlights programme of the season would record higher-than-average viewing figures.
The second point concerns his comment about fans’ responses to the amount of ads in the programme. I’m sure he thinks it’s fine to say that “advertisers paid for the rights to the highlights” But fans would argue that the show is aimed at them and therefore they have every right to be annoyed at a show that has more ads than highlights (or so it seemed).
OK, Liddiment might think that the ads “looked great”, but that’s not why the fans are tuning in to watch. Perhaps this is why more fans subscribe to Sky – at least there you see more of the game.