ITV is gambling on charging a premium rate for the 56 minutes of advertising around its Formula One coverage that will dominate 17 weekends between March and October.
Four programmes will run every race weekend, monopolising the ITV schedule with between five and six hours of programming.
Laser, Granada’s sales house, which sells on behalf of London Weekend Television, is understood to be spearheading the call for a premium rate. Laser pushed hard for the 100m deal that brought Formula One to ITV for five years.
“There is an increasing market for event specials,” says Jerry Hill, chief executive of TSMS, ITV’s spokesman on Formula One advertising. “A lot of advertisers will want to make sure they have access to Formula One and will be prepared to negotiate quite separately.”
But buyers believe any premium for Formula One will depend on buyers’ relationship with the sales houses. “Whoever you’re spending least with over the year will see it as a special deal,” says one buyer. “But those you are close to will work it into your existing deal.”
On Saturdays ITV will air a 90-minute programme on the qualification rounds and a 15-minute race update on Saturday nights. On Sundays the race and a repeat programme will take up more than three hours of programming.
The live race will have five two-minute ad breaks, plus breaks in the half-hour build-up programme and the post-race analysis segment.