Huge ad push to promote C4 programming

Huge ad push to promote C4 programming

Channel 4: launching multimillion-pound ad onslaught for late schedule

Channel 4 is planning an aggressive comeback after a rocky year with the launch of a multi-million pound advertising campaign promoting a raft of new programming for its late evening schedule.

The channel, which this week revealed it would be back in profit by the end of the year, following a spate of redundancies and cost-cutting measures, has created an extensive marketing campaign that will launch in the New Year.

The new advertising campaign from Channel 4 will use Graham Norton's 10pm show as a platform to launch a new weekly entertainment zone on the channel that will feature a number of new programmes including a new psychological prison drama, Buried, and a new ten-part drama series, Twenty Things To Do Before You're 30.

New series' of Frasier and Sex and the City will also feature in the campaign.

Created by Michealides & Bednash and planned and bought by OMD, the advertising will launch on January 6 and will form the bulk of the broadcaster's advertising for the first quarter of 2003.

C4 director of marketing Polly Cochrane said: "This is the first time in a long time that we've had something this substantial to promote in terms of a programming routine."

PHD broadcast director John Overend welcomed the marketing splash from the channel: "One of the things Channel 4 has been lacking this year has been the promotion of its programming so I think this has got to be viewed as a good thing. Anything that Channel 4 can do to redress the balance has got to be good."

Commercial rivals ITV and Five have both launched major marketing initiatives this year - Five rebranded itself from Channel 5 with a big marketing campaign, and ITV also revamped its whole brand.

C4 announced this week that, despite a tough twelve months, it would have returned to profit by the end of 2002. The broadcaster, which reached its 20th birthday this year, announced its biggest loss in a decade when it reported losses after tax of £20.6 m for 2001.

However, under the steerage of its new chief executive Mark Thompson, the broadcaster, which also owns the digital TV channels E4 and FilmFour, made more than 300 redundancies from its 1,000-strong workforce during the year and axed its film production arm Film Four.

A statement from C4 said that the cost-cutting measures have resulted in a 33% reduction of its overheads, and added that its 4 Ventures division, which houses its digital channels, is on track to halve its losses.

The broadcaster is expecting to report a 4.5% increase in its advertising revenue this year, and Thompson announced a 7.5% boost in C4's programme budget to £430m earlier this year.

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