Virgin Media Television (VMTV) is expecting 20% of its UKTV Food channel to be funded by advertisers in three years. The prediction comes as VMTV, which rebranded from Flextech Television earlier this month, embarks on a second strategy aimed at getting advertiser-funded programming (AFP) in primetime slots.
Controller of commercial partnerships Claire Heys says it is creating more co-AFP properties, giving the television house more control over editorial content and making it more suitable for primetime slots. Of the 60 AFP hours commissioned last year, only five were in peak.
Heys believes that 40% of UKTV Food’s commissioned content – which accounts for half of all programme hours – will be ad-funded by 2010. Percentages of other UKTV and VMTV channels will also increase, although Heys believes Food’s niche content makes it more attractive to advertisers.
She expects to sign ten deals across the portfolio in 2007. With an incremental value of £5m, this will be ploughed back into commissioned programming.
Heys was promoted to the post of controller in August last year, overseeing all Flextech’s advertiser-funded activities. She joined in 2004 after being head of business development at TV production company Initial.