Magazine article Marketing

OPINION: Study the Right Figures and ITV1 Will Appear Far More Promising

Magazine article Marketing

OPINION: Study the Right Figures and ITV1 Will Appear Far More Promising

Article excerpt

Sometimes you have to be prepared to take a risk and make outrageous statements no matter how much they conflict with conventional wisdom. This can be a painful process and attract ridicule and derision. But here goes: ITV is not dead; it is not even nearly dead and, in fact, is showing the first stirrings of life and even the potential for revival.

After the follies of the past two years this is indeed a bold statement and one that no one should take on trust. We will know by the end of this year whether the future of ITV will be a sorrowful task of managing decline or whether water really can be pushed uphill.

To back an optimistic forecast, we cannot rely on the 17 million viewers attracted by the murderous episode of Coronation Street. You cannot allow too many well-known characters to have permanent exits. Still less can you rely on the skills of Martin Bashir. After the Michael Jackson spectacular, it is difficult to imagine any celebrity inviting Bashir into their lovely homes.

The ratings figures for January amount to a straw in the wind. ITV1's peaktime share for January was 33.3% - a 1.2 share point increase compared with the same period last year. It may seem derisorily small, but when we are talking ITV, you shouldn't sneeze at any increase. In the same period, the BBC was down, Five remained stable and only Channel 4 managed a rise - 8.8% compared with 8% a year ago. Interestingly, the multichannel peak was slightly down - 15.65% against 15.81%.

The pounds 100m extra in the ITV1 programme budget - about two-thirds of Five's total - is another cause for hope. …

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