Magazine article Marketing

Beeb Tipped for Xmas Clash

Magazine article Marketing

Beeb Tipped for Xmas Clash

Article excerpt

The Christmas ratings war will be crucial in deciding if ITV hits its target of 38% share for the year.

Last year the BBC won a resounding victory against its commercial rival during Christmas week, with 36.5% of the share of viewers to ITV's 29.7%.

So will the network take a thrashing again this year? Or do the other channels have schedules that will make exciting and tough competition for BBCI? We asked four TV buyers to highlight their Christmas crackers and turkeys for the Big Day.

Nick Evans, associate director at BBJ Media Services, reckons that Who Wants to be a Christmas Millionaire? at 8.30pm on December 25 could do the job for ITV and is a serious runner against BBC's EastEnders. The soap has been split into two half-hour slots - one running at 5.25pm and the other at 8.30pm.

"Channel 5 has obviously thrown in the towel. Sky One has lined up a schedule for very young viewers. It's aimed at 16- to 24-year-olds, but Christmas TV is dominated by Mums and Dads."

Seasonal superiority

For the same reason, Evans thinks even the repeat of The Morecambe and Wise Christmas special on the BBC has a chance against the Spice Girls Live at Wembley on ITV. Both are being shown around 1.45pm. He also says BBC's Men Behaving Badly could be as successful as Only Fools and Horses previously.

Evans is in no doubt that the BBC's enduring seasonal superiority will triumph again this year: "If you took the word 'Christmas' out of the titles, ITV's schedule could look like any normal Sunday schedule," he says.

Paul Van Barthold, TV director at The Media Business Group, agrees that the BBC will wipe the floor. He reckons ITV's Spice Girls will win over BBC's Morecambe and Wise, with the Corporation's Noel's Christmas Presents also doing well. But EastEnders, he believes, will be the clear winner.

"Auntie's Bloomers and Emmerdale will split the audience but ITV will be stronger for Coronation Street. …

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