Ad Campaign Helps Boost ATV Fortunes

An aggressive new marketing push, program supply deals and a host of rebroadcasting agreements are paying dividends for Australia Television (ATV), the 18 territory Asian satellite service of the Australian Broadcasting Corp. (ABC).

As the station turned two-years-old last week, it signed pharmaceutical company Blackmores on as its latest advertiser in a push that is expected to see its ad client portfolio double to 50 this year.

ATV survived a Senate review of its finances this year, having caused concern by declaring a net operating loss of $A2.9 million ($2.1 million) in its first year of operation.

But the service got through the review with “a clean bill of health,” telling the inquiry it would break even by 1999 based on a conservative 10% per annum growth in ad revenue. Operating costs are $4.4 million to $5.9 million a year.

Chief executive Michael Mann said some of ATV’s problems stemmed from the fact that few Australian companies have pan- Asian marketing strategies and have therefore been slow to take up advertising, but this will change because ATV plans to court Asian-based firms.

He said the station also suffered because many Australian execs had never seen the service, which is not aired in its home country.

ATV has signed a rebroadcasting agreement in Sri Lanka, bringing to “over 50” the web of cablers carrying the service for those without satellite dishes. Of late, ATV has inked such deals in Vietnam and Laos, where government-owned networks rebroadcast highlights of the lineup, with Thai Telecom for all rights outside Bangkok and presently has 10 rebroadcast agreements in the Philippines for 44 cablers in Manila.

It recently signed a program supply deal with Network Ten to transmit reruns of its programs, excluding non-Ten sourced news, mirroring a similar and established agreement between ATV and multicultural network the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS).

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