Magazine article Marketing

Miscalculations in the Real Costs of a New Channel

Magazine article Marketing

Miscalculations in the Real Costs of a New Channel

Article excerpt

The news that Channel 5 retuning is going to cost the odd [pounds]15m or so more than expected will surprise no one - except perhaps for the ITC which obviously thought its original plans were perfect. The augmentation of the retuning teams based on the trial in Surrey may not be the end of the matter. Just wait until the 7000 retuners in their special security uniforms try to get into the flats of London and United News and Pearson - the other Channel 5 investors may find themselves putting their hands a little deeper in their pockets.

Ironically, Channel 5 now faces a very tight retuning schedule because of an entirely laudable attempt to link the exercise with the marketing of the channel. It might have been wiser to just get on with the retuning and handle the marketing later.

You don't have to subscribe to allegations of ITV dirty tricks propaganda to wonder whether the ITC's requirement that at least 90% of the retuning should be satisfactorily carried out before switch on day - January 1 - will be met.

For some unaccountable reason, other bidders for the Channel 5 licence thought the retuning exercise would be much more difficult and much more expensive than Channel 5 Broadcasting. But that, after all, is what the art of writing franchise applications is all about.

In the end though, retuning is not the point. It will be done eventually at whatever cost. The importance of Channel 5 for the media industry is much greater than that.

It will, of course, provide advertisers with another stick to beat ITV with, although ITV sales houses are able to provide compelling evidence of the importance of mainstream prime-time programmes for reaching even light up-market viewers. …

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