Magazine article Marketing

First Time on TV

Magazine article Marketing

First Time on TV

Article excerpt

David Brook once described himself as a "classic light television viewer". But today the marketing director of the Guardian Media Group is getting ready for television by the bucketful.

Last week Brook was named as the new marketing director of the UK's fifth and last terrestrial television channel. He is the man charged with persuading viewers to tune in when Channel 5 comes on air next January. He takes up his new post on April 1.

Brook, who cut his teeth in newspaper marketing, will have a multi-million pound marketing and advertising campaign to support him.

But it will be a tough task. On launch the initial coverage of the station will be just 70% of the UK. At the same time satellite and cable television is continuing to penetrate British households, gobbling up more viewers and advertising revenue as it goes.

One of the most pressing problems for both Brook and Channel 5 is that 4.7 million UK homes will have to be visited before the launch of the channel, to have their videos and satellite dishes retuned so the new service doesn't interfere with the signal.

And ITV, Channel 4, the BBC, and all Channel 5's other opponents are not going to sit back and quietly wait for the new channel to arrive.

Brook's youth (he's 35 and has been at GMG since he was 26), his relaxed charm and friendliness might make one wonder whether he's just too nice to go head-to-head with the roughnecks over at ITV.

Brook is certainly not a macho media marketer. He doesn't shout, throw things, or swear at his staff. Insiders say one of the few signs that he is losing, or has lost his temper, is the steely tone in his voice. So is he tough enough for the job?

Similar doubts were expressed when he became The Guardian's head of marketing after just eight months as marketing manager and with no newspaper experience.

But Brook has proved his mettle in battle, particularly in the newspaper price war, in which The Guardian managed to retain both its cover price and circulation in the face of the discounted Times, Telegraph and Independent.

He has been a key player in the launch of The Guardian Guide, a powerful selling point on Saturdays. Not all his launch experiences, however, have proved quite so positive. Brook was one of the driving forces behind Wired magazine, launched by GMG in partnership with the publisher of the US version of Wired. …

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