08 June 2000

Media Audits today unveiled the findings of a recent survey conducted among major national advertisers. According to the study, a majority want ITV to reverse its controversial axing of the former flagship news programme, News at Ten.

Fifty-four per cent of advertisers believe the decision to terminate the 10pm slot was a mistake, while over 83% perceive the network as reliant on too few programmes. Although three-quarters of respondents regard the decline in ITV's audiences as inevitable, virtually the same percentage express disappointment that ITV had reduced its peak-time share targets.

Media Audits UK managing director, Martin Sambrook, says that larger advertisers spending over £15 million are more sympathetic to ITV maintaining its 11pm news slot than smaller advertisers. But, says Sambrook: "Advertisers have ended up with something not quite as good as they had before. ITV is struggling to deliver the impacts in peak. They have downgraded the promises they made on peaktime because they don't have the quality of programmes to plug into the gap."

ITV will today re-present its revised peaktime schedule to the Independent Television Commission. Last month the watchdog rejected ITV's initial schedules, which undertook to spend up to £20 million in new programming for the key 9-11pm period to boost viewing in the run-up to the 11pm Nightly News. The broadcaster also slated a new soap slot in an attempt to reverse the decline in early evening viewing.

News Source: CampaignLive (UK)