Recovery Channel

Clive Whittaker, marketing director of Grand Metropolitan Foods

There are two major targets in the managing of the ITV brand: first the viewer and secondly, the advertiser.

The viewer is now more spoilt with the variation of leisure options than ever before. Television must compete for “quality time” with the likes of electronic entertainment and an improved cinema experience to name but two. On television, the growth in satellite and cable homes now allows more than 20 per cent of homes in the UK to access programmes via 30-plus channels.

Gone are the days when the viewer turned on ITV at 5.30pm and switched off at closedown. ITV must brand its programming to compete for a share of the consumer’s mind.

The association must be made between ITV and brilliant programming, thus pre-disposing the viewer to ITV. This task will involve reaching the potential viewer not just through television promotion but through every relevant contact point.

Advertisers have seen an unacceptable double digit inflation figure on ITV in 1995, fuelled by ratings declines. From their perspective ITV is an enigma in that the less the product delivers, the more it costs.

ITV, however, still provides advertisers with the opportunity of reaching mass audiences with one hit. It also offers an additional benefit of regionality which, in conjunction with its coverage, cannot be matched by any medium.

ITV must concentrate on its role as the advertiser’s marketing partner and shoulder greater responsibility for growing its base of loyal advertising supporters. This involves justifying programme budgets and schedules to advertisers in the long term and catering for advertisers’ needs in its commissioning of programmes.

In short, the key word for ITV is “partnership”. An entertainment partner to the viewer, a business partner to the advertiser.

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