ITV offers pick of crop to sponsors

ITV is to launch a sponsorship package for the pick of its premium drama output, including shows such as Cracker, Prime Suspect IV and Emma.

The sponsorship deal would be the biggest on British TV, eclipsing Diet Coke’s 3m support for movie premieres.

The channel’s most popular and upmarket shows are on offer – a total of 16 dramas, including a new Morse special, the new Sharpe mini-series, and Poldark.

TSMS head of sponsorship Tim Brady says: “At the start, the success of tie-ups such as Inspector Morse and Beamish stout or Rumpole of the Bailey and Croft Port meant that drama was one of the chief product categories for sponsorship.”

“But it has tailed off as advertisers look for a thematic link between their product and the programming. This drama package should redress the balance.”

One-off and short-run dramas have proved very popular with spot advertisers but less so with sponsors, largely because of their limited duration. The new package would help remove that obstacle.

Agencies support the idea. J Walter Thompson’s head of broadcast Bill Barker says: “Although the target market for something like Cracker differs slightly from, say, Sharpe, these are all quality programmes and, provided the price is sensible, are a desirable location. If you were to ask what would be better than one of the best packages currently available – Film on Four – this would be it.”

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