Magazine article Marketing

Where the Programme Is King

Magazine article Marketing

Where the Programme Is King

Article excerpt

Three of the most lucrative Channel 3 licences changed hands in the franchise auctions. The London weekday licence went to Carlton Television which promptly appointed Martin Bowley as its sales director. Bowley had been at TSW which lost its South-west England franchise.

Bowley's sales policy is based on the idea that "programmes are king". He regards close links with programme makers as crucial to his role.

"I'm fortunate in that all of Carlton Television is in one building. If I want-to see programme makers then the only flight that I need to take is a flight of stairs."

Carlton's programming director Paul Jackson is a very clear advocate of that position too. This meeting of minds typifies a situation in which ITV realises its continued dominace depends on programme scheduling to push up ratings in peak time. It's a policy underscored by ITV's shift to a central schedule which can respond more flexibly to rival broadcasters.

Bowley has already trawled ad agencies pitching a three tier sales strategy. First and foremost he tows the ITV line, then the attractions of London and finally the particular appeal of Carlton. He says advertisers regard London as top of the list for business.

Bowley, like Wall, believes that selling ITV strongly is in the interest of all the contractors: "All the sales directors knew they had to market ITV but

since the bid process the commercial realities have brought us even closer together. We are the dominant broadcaster and the only true commercial station. …

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