Watch this space: the on-air marketing communications of UK television

Peter Meech

The on-air marketing communications of UK television have developed significantly over the past decade. Yet despite their salience and their increasing strategic importance to broadcasters, the topic has been neglected by academic communicators. This study considers the factors contributing to the development of the discipline and the growing sophistication of channel idents, promos and corporate campaigns. There is an analysis of advertising industry criticisms and the lack of formal controls on such 'clutter'. This is contrasted with a widespread absence of concern on the part of the general public, for whom it has become an accepted and even enjoyable part of the viewing experience. Finally, the BBC is studied as an instance of a UK broadcaster whose on-air communications have benefited in recent years from the organisation's stronger commitment to a marketing orientation.