Letters - 22 November 2005

ITV4, Telegraph Newspapers, and cinema advertising.

Letters - 22 November 2005
Letters - 22 November 2005

Letter of the Week - ITV4 was the best digital launch so far

Steve Arnell, channel editor at ITV4

As if anyone at Network Centre would dare to pull Maggie Brown's leg (Comment, 8 November). In ratings terms – which is surely an accepted measure of success in the television industry – ITV4 was, without doubt, the most successful launch of a new digital channel to date.

On 1 November, ITV4's audience peaked at 1.2 million viewers and averaged a peak time share of 3.32%. That's double the peak-time share of More4's launch night, which averaged a 1.61%, and this was despite us having to overcome the obstacle of Sky delaying the launch of the channel by a week.

The suggestion that ITV4 didn't make an effort with its launch night programming is totally unjustified.

We managed to secure one of the biggest European football games of the season and the UK debut of the American hit series Kojak.

If Maggie were a 25 to 44-year-old upmarket male (rather than a perfect fit for the demographic profile of More4's target audience), then she may have been more likely to be on the receiving end of some of the millions of pounds worth of advertising around the launch.

Anyone who had gone to the cinema, taken a bus, read a broadsheet newspaper or listened to the radio in the two weeks that preceded the launch would have been hard pushed to be unaware of ITV4's imminent launch.

Maggie might even have caught one of the promos that were running on More4.

ITV4 and More4 have both been success stories. They are already in the top 10 channels in Freeview homes, and that can only be a good thing for viewers.


Telegraph has taken giant steps forward

Ken Breen, sales director newspapers at Display Advertisement Dept Telegraph Group Limited

I have spent the best part of my career at the Telegraph Group (nearly 10 years) and felt I had to reply to the letter (Strange moves at the Telegraph, 15 November).

Yes, 2005 has seen a lot of change in our company, but all of it is has been positive. Product development, more colour, more pagination, new impetus from fresh minds, a cultural sea change.

We have moved away from a Dickensian mindset to a new, more strategically focused, market-leading mentality.

We are investing heavily in our products and in our people.

Four new launches in the space of two months (for The Sunday Telegraph, Stella and Seven supplements, and for The Daily Telegraph, a new compact sport and separate business section). Entirely new products, not cosmetic tweaks.

We are moving forward, and at pace, away from the stagnation that was endemic under the previous incumbents. Our attitude is competitive, tactically aware and embraces the new demands placed on media owners by the ever-changing nature of national press. We want to win, and we are willing to compete to do so.

Our core values are the same, but imbued with a new spirit of innovation. Yes, we have had to make savings in order to move forward, but these were made for sound business reasons. No one can tell me that there was not some well-reported fat in the old Telegraph. Unfortunately, how these savings have been reported is widely off mark, in terms of the truth of things.

To my nameless friend, and I have to ask myself why you chose to remain nameless, who harks back to the good old days at the Telegraph, you're only kidding yourself. What motivated you to write your letter? We are definitely thinking about things outside your myopic perspective.


Ensuring that cinema's voice is heard

Adam Mills, sales director at Carlton Screen Advertising

It was interesting to note Tony Lithgow's analysis article on what perceived effect Carlton Screen Advertising's growth in share has on media agencies (CSA dominates in cinema's changing advertising market, 15 November).

For Carlton Screen Advertising, it has been a fantastic new business year, but this will not change our working practice; there will be no unusual rate increases or sudden changes in negotiations.

Both Pearl & Dean and Carlton Screen Advertising have held up to 80% market shares in the past, and this has never changed the way either party trade.

At a relatively small, 1.8%, share of overall advertising revenue, it is more important that we are dedicated to ensuring cinema's voice is heard.

Cinema is in the minority at present, its growth across the last two years bucking the trend for the more traditional media, and it continues to move its way up the agenda as a media choice.

That said, I am sure any brand manager or media planner will happily back me up in the view that cinema has some work to do and a long way to go before the power of the big screen means it is an absolute necessity to their communication plans.

The bigger objective for us is to continue lifting the profile of cinema to an integral part of agencies' creative and media planning process – we won't be "arousing indignation" in media buyers with the thought of a monopoly; we'll just continue arousing their interest in cinema.

To that effect, we will continue to work closely with Pearl & Dean, not only collectively as part of the Cinema Advertising Association, but also on important joint research projects and annual presentations, such as CAVIAR, which is in its 23rd year in 2006.

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