Channel 4 celebrates 'very successful deals' with agencies

David Abraham, chief executive of Channel 4, has indicated that media agencies and advertisers are responding well to the broadcaster's new direction and Jonathan Allan's newly restructured commercial operation going into 2012.

Channel 4 celebrates 'very successful deals' with agencies
Channel 4 celebrates 'very successful deals' with agencies

Speaking at the Oxford Media Convention this week, Channel 4's leader singled out sales director Allan for particular praise following his first TV trading season.

He said: "Most importantly for 2012, our new director of sales Jonathan Allan has concluded very successful deals with all the major agencies, who are really embracing the thinking and the sharing of information that we’re starting to bring into these conversations."

Abraham's optimistic comments come despite the chief executive admitting the broadcaster is likely to spend more than it generates in 2012, as it lays the foundations for future growth.

By investing in a 12.5% rise in UK commissioning budgets to £450m this year, Channel 4 is hoping to gain market share and position itself strongly for when the economy returns to growth.

In its upcoming annual report this Spring, it is also expected to become apparent  how the broadcaster has shifted from investing in US content to direct more funding towards the UK and public service broadcasting.

Explaining the move, Abraham said: "Channel 4 can do all this at a time when the creative economy needs it most, because of our unique status. None of our funding comes from the taxpayer, so we can cut our own cloth, and we don't have commercial shareholders, so we can take the long view.

"We want to grow Channel 4 and we want to grow the UK creative economy. To do that we need to invest and, as every entrepreneur knows, ‘you need to put down in order to pick up’."

Last year, Channel 4's flagship channel dropped market share in its first year without reality stalwart 'Big Brother', but Abraham pointed to growth across its entire portfolio and also noted that the drop represented "our smallest audience loss for five years". He added hopefully: "In my view that's bottoming out".

Read more on Channel 4's confidence at the start of 2012 here.

Follow Arif Durrani on Twitter: @DurraniMix

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