C4 seeks £7m in sponsorships

Channel 4 is seeking sponsors for two of its strongest new programmes, and one of its long-running soaps.

The C4 sponsorship department is seeking sponsorships for US drama series Sex and The City, the UK dating show Streetmate, and the long-running youth soap Hollyoaks. These sponsorships total &£7m.

David Charlesworth, C4’s head of sponsorship, says: “We are looking for the right sponsors for these shows. They are fashionable street-smart programmes which attract the 16-to-24 age group.”

Hollyoaks is priced at &£5.5m for one year, or &£3m for six months. Later in the year, the show will move from two episodes plus an omnibus, to three episodes plus an omnibus. It attracts an average audience of 1.8 million.

Sex and the City follows the lives of four women in New York as they explore the singles scene. The show, which stars Sarah Jessica Parker, attracts an audience of about 3 million and returns next year. The channel is seeking &£1m for 24 episodes.

Streetmate stars the popular presenter Davina McCall and is one of a number of dating games that has sprung up around TV schedules on the back of ITV’s Blind Date. This show also returns in the autumn and is priced at &£600,000 for one year.

C4’s pre-tax profit for 1998 was &£26.3m against &£29.2m in 1997 on turnover up 6.8 per cent to &£590.5m. The reduction was attributed to increased programme investment and new business developments. FilmFour, C4’s premium pay-TV channel, is on course to reach its first year target of 150,000 subscribers. Commercial director Andy Barnes saw his remuneration package go up nearly 50 per cent to &£325,000 last year from &£225,000 in 1997, partly due to a bonus of &£113,000. Chief executive Michael Jackson was paid &£478,000 including bonus and benefits while David Brook, director of strategy and development, received a total package of &£229,000.

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