Magazine article Marketing

Live TV Transforms Advertisers' Power

Magazine article Marketing

Live TV Transforms Advertisers' Power

Article excerpt

Imagine what it would be like if television was like local radio; if there were scores of local TV stations across the country, and instead of tens of thousands of pounds it cost an advertiser around [pounds]1000 for a typical spot.

This was the vision laid out by Mirror Group's head of television, Kelvin MacKenzie, last week, as he expounded on Live TV to journalists gathered to hear the group's annual results.

Live TV will be a "feel-good" station offering a lively, upbeat and populist view of the world via cable television, explained the former Sun editor. "Bosnia it ain't," he said, but promised that the station, which goes live on June 12, would be "celebrity and event-driven".

And to bear out this claim, a video featuring a wacky inventors' fair, the opening night of a West End performance and a supermodel fashion show for Wonderbra, was projected onto a huge screen behind MacKenzie as he spoke.

Programming for the station will originally be output from [pounds]5m purpose-built studios in Canary Wharf but Live TV, MacKenzie emphasised, will be local. And that, he maintained, will be the key to its success.

Mirror Group claims regional ITV stations do not amount to local television because of their size, scale and cost for potential advertisers. MacKenzie said: "Today, it is simply impossible for small and medium-sized companies to advertise on television."

Live TV, he said, will change all that. The station is linking up with local newspaper groups and cable companies to provide the service. Mirror Group is spending around [pounds]30m on Live TV and is confident of its success - predicting break-even in three years.

MacKenzie likened local TV to the success of commercial radio in recent years. Around 70% of UK cable companies have already agreed to carry Live TV, linking it to around 750,000 homes.

Former head of BBC Television's youth programming, Janet Street-Porter, has been recruited as managing director of Live TV, with a brief to make it a lively, vibrant station - delivering an attractive audience to advertisers. She claims that Live TV is going to be good news for viewers and advertisers because of the distinctive programming it will provide.

The Birmingham Post & Mail is the first newspaper company on board and will begin its Birmingham Live programming with the Mirror TV sometime in the summer. …

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