Broadcasters bid to prove value in channel brands

The UK’s biggest TV channels are preparing a raft of brand marketing activity to help educate viewers about their values and personalities as they look to prevent their brands being lost amid the proliferation of online content from new internet TV players such as LoveFilm and Netflix.

Drama Lives On ITV

Broadcasters including ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and UKTV said at this year’s Media Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival they are exploring how to better communicate their parent brands to audiences through their own airtime and above the line marketing activity in in a bid to make viewers remember and value where content has originally been broadcast.

The activity will follow Sky’s recent press campaign that sought to promote how the company adds value to Britain, both economically and culturally.

Channel 4 marketing and communications director Dan Brooke told Marketing Week it is looking to communicate its public service remit to audiences that may be unaware it is a public service broadcaster; Channel 5 is hoping to readdress inaccurate preconceptions about its brand by focusing on being “fun”; while UKTV said it is exploring how marketing around its parent brand may boost its 10 channel brands.

Peter Fincham, controller of ITV, which is currently running an on air campaign to promote its roots in British drama, said terrestrial channels have been “adjusting to a multi channel world” for many years. He added it is only the big channels that have the breadth of content to effectively provide audiences with everything from “hard hitting public affairs to the fluffiest entertainment”.

The larger channels, however, have seen their audience share drop year on year despite the habit of watching TV continuing to grow, Fincham lamented – although ITV’s share growth was “flat” last year.

With this in mind, the ITV marketing team is exploring how to badge its content in a more confident way so viewers identify the appreciation they feel for individual programmes in the schedule with the ITV brand as a whole.

Many viewers now see streaming or online services such as BBC’s iPlayer, YouTube and Netflix as amongst the primary ways they source made-for-TV content – an audience which Elisabeth Murdoch, chairman and CEO of Shine Group, said broadcasters ignore “at their peril”.

Joris Evers, Netflix’s director of corporate communications, admits viewers may only recognise in “some” of its content which channel a programme was originally broadcast on, while its own brand has become strongly associated with TV in the UK, having reached 60 per cent brand awareness in the territory, according to Deloitte.

Evers said: “We feel there is a third evolution of TV. We’ve moved from a few TV channels, to hundreds, to TV everywhere. That’s the space where we want to be a global player.”

The rise and rise of second screening and why ads matter
Source: Deloitte

  • About a quarter (24%) of people in the UK use a second screen while watching TV
  • The majority of second screeners (68%) would not want websites for products, personalities or ads that have just been shown on TV to automatically appear on their device
  • TV viewers are forecast to watch nearly a trillion ads in 2012
  • More than half (57%) of people say TV spots have the most impact of any advertising format – ahead of newspaper ads (15%) and magazine ads (13%)
  • Half of all 16-24-year olds use messaging, email, Facebook or Twitter to discuss what they are viewing on TV
  • 79% of over 55s never talk about what they’re watching on TV on the internet
  • Only one in ten people browse the internet for information about the programme they are watching
  • 40% of people like being able to send their comments in to a live programme


Lucy Handley

Consumers need more than a nudge

Lucy Handley

Lucy Handley is Marketing Week’s deputy features editor and has also worked in advertising agencies so can bring a unique perspective to client-agency relationships when writing on this topic.