C5’s Elstein urges agencies to restyle TV ads

Advertising agencies will have to rethink the way in which TV commercials are written if they are to advertise brands successfully in the digital TV age, says David Elstein, chief executive of Channel 5.

Elstein delivered the warning at last night’s Chartered Institute of Marketing’s Annual Lecture. He signalled an end to the style for “flashy, attention-catching commercials” and said ads will have to be styled as programmes, with interactive information packs, which viewers will want to seek out.

“Ads will have to be useful because audiences will be seeking them out rather than enduring them as interruptions to viewing,” he said.

Elstein said the rise of digital TV would shift the power away from the old-style broadcaster and regulator towards the producer and consumer. As consumers seek to gain direct access to programmes of their choice, the relationship between the producer and the consumer must get closer, he told the CIM.

“The more direct the relationship, the fewer the opportunities for middlemen and busybodies to interpose themselves between the two participants.” He added “gatekeepers” such as politicians, media owners and opinions formers, would be increasingly marginalised.

In his speech Elstein also claimed C5’s audience share topped four per cent for the first time last month, which represents over six per cent of the homes that can receive the channel.


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