Magazine article Marketing

Raymond Snoddy on Media: ITV Would Love a Problem like Maria

Magazine article Marketing

Raymond Snoddy on Media: ITV Would Love a Problem like Maria

Article excerpt

There are many opinions about the musical compositions of Andrew Lloyd Webber, but there can be no doubt about his marketing abilities.

Has a musical ever been so well promoted as the upcoming production of The Sound of Music? Having lost his planned Hollywood star lead of Scarlett Johansson, rather than wallow in self-pity, he dreamed up a BBC audition to do his work for him and is now getting oodles of free publicity.

It is the sort of publicity that money literally cannot buy. The result? pounds 6m in advance takings at the box office.

Indeed, all the numbers are impressive here. The audience for Saturday night's final of How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? averaged 7.7m, with more than 2m viewers paying to vote.

From an advertising point of view, the only sadness is that the show was on the BBC and not on commercial television. You can be sure that Strictly Come Dancing will also attract a big and broad family audience of the sort ITV can only dream about.

As for his Lordship, he should be given an advertising effectiveness award without any further delay.

How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? may also have had an important medicinal effect on the television industry. It provided proof positive that, with a little bit of imagination, and perhaps a little bit of luck, it is possible to grab the attention of a decent proportion of the fragmenting audience on Saturday nights. This is a trick that should really not be totally beyond the reach of ITV commissioning editors.

The Maria pick-me-up came at just the right time for the television industry, two days after everyone in it had frightened themselves to death again at the Royal Television Society conference.

The latest nightmare is the result of the growing success of the vast DIY media battalions, such as You-Tube and MySpace.

YouTube, it emerged last week, is the fastest-growing online brand in the UK, having posted growth of more than 500% in the past six months.

There was a startling moment at the conference when the industry's great and good were shown an online clip of two very ordinary teenagers in China miming to a pop song in their bedrooms. …

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