P&O replaces Aviva as Downton sponsor

P&O Cruises has taken over from Aviva as the sponsor of ITV1’s popular period drama Downton Abbey, after signing a seven figure deal with the broadcaster.

P and O Downton Abbey ident
A still from the Downton Abbey P and O ident

The sponsorship , which will feature for the entirety of the third series of the programme, will include broadcast idents using the strapline “Discovering a different world, I can’t wait”. It will also includes mobile, online and social media elements.

Previously the programme was sponsored by Aviva as part of its Drama Premieres package, but it is now sponsored as a standalone by P&O. Aviva’s deal has now come to the end of its term and ITV is yet to announce a new drama sponsor.

The financial services brand was rapped by Ofcom last year for its Downton Abbey sponsorship because its idents featured sales messages, which contravenes the Broadcasting Code.

The most recent series of Downton Abbey averaged 11.8 million viewers and a 38 per cent share of the total linear TV audience. Its Christmas episode was the most watched Christmas Day show, attracting 11.6 million viewers.

P&O Cruises managing director Carol Marlow says: “We know that many of our passengers and potential passengers watch Downton Abbey and we are excited to bring our brand to life for this vast audience.”

The P&O sponsorship was negotiated by Vizeum, while the Walker Agency created the idents.

Research from BARB released today (16 August) states that commercial TV accounted for 67 per cent of total TV viewing between January and June. Drama accounted for 25 per cent of viewing across commercial TV.

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