C4's David Abraham on the 'triumph of linear television'

David Abraham, chief executive of Channel 4, spoke about the pressure of inheriting the Paralympic broadcast contract from his predecessor Andy Duncan at the RTS Conference today, which he dubbed a "triumph of linear television".

David Abraham: chief executive of Channel 4
David Abraham: chief executive of Channel 4

Abraham was speaking at the Royal Television Society Digital World Conference and joked he was worried he was going to "fuck up" the Paralympics.

More seriously, he claimed the Olympics and Paralympics had been a "triumph of linear television" and a reminder of the "power of linear television, as it was 30-years ago".

Channel 4 broadcast the London 2012 Paralympic Games for the first time this year and started its marketing support for its coverage a week before the Olympic Games began, which Abraham said he believed contributed to record Paralympic ticket sales.

Abraham said: "We wanted to put down a marker before the Olympics to say this is going to be big. Mark this event in your mind."

The US Olympic and Paralympic broadcaster NBC came under fire for only broadcasting around 15 hours of Paralympic programming and Gary Zenkel, president, NBC Olympics, and operations, strategy, NBC Sports Group, defended the decision this morning.

Zenkel said: "The audience and the commercial support that the sponsors provide are fatigued by the Paralympics. We are a commercial broadcaster and we have to fill hours with commercially supported programming.

"We gave it more [air time] than we have it in the past. It needs to be in a place where the audience will gather and the commercial support will exist."

Channel 4 received strong audiences throughout the Paralympics and a wide range of advertisers bought packages of spot ad around its coverage and Abraham said he was not sure he agreed about the "fatigue".

Abraham continued: "In the UK the Olympics is a commercial-free experience. While there is sponsorship noise it's about moving money around, it's not additive.

"To have a commercial-free Olympics and a commercial Paralympics has delivered a contrast."

During Channel 4's coverage a number of people used social networks such as Twitter to complain about the ads, which Abraham described as a "good way to explain we are delivering public value without any cost to the taxpayer".

Last week, Abraham wrote about how Channel 4's coverage of the Paralympics helped change public perception of disability and disabled sport, for Campaign magazine.

Have your say...

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Media Week Jobs
Search for more media jobs

Latest

Omnicom dispute to drive down Channel 5 prices in H2

Omnicom dispute to drive down Channel 5 prices in H2

Omnicom's trading dispute with Channel 5 is expected to drive down the broadcaster's prices by an estimated six per cent year on year, according to an internal Channel 5 document seen by Campaign.

Share
Aga targets city homes with cooker campaign

Aga targets city homes with cooker campaign

Aga, the British cooker brand indelibly linked with the upper-middle classes and their country homes, has released a campaign for its city oven.

Share
David Abraham MacTaggart lecture: full text

David Abraham MacTaggart lecture: full text

Read the full text of David Abraham's speech, called 'After The Gold Rush: Sustaining creative risk in UK television for the next generation', given at the Edinburgh International Television Festival.

Share

Get news by email