Channel 5 surfs ITV

U.K. newcomer sets promo push on rival web

LONDON — Channel 5, the terrestrial TV channel that launched last spring, is placing advertising promoting itself on the ITV network, the U.K.’s biggest commercial net and C5’s key rival.

An initial two-week campaign begins this week and will see a 40-second C5 ad carried by Granada TV, the big ITV broadcaster for the Manchester and Liverpool areas of northern England.

According to the ITC, the British commercial TV regulatory authority, terrestrial broadcasters can not be blocked from buying ad space on each other’s services.

A spokesperson for Laser, the sales house that sells ad time for Granada, added it “could not refuse such ads.” C5, however, is being made to pay a premium.

The ad consists of clips of programming on C5 — including “Xena: Warrior Princess” — and ends with a voiceover saying, “Get a kick out of five.”

What C5 can not do is mention when the advertised shows will air. For example, it can not urge viewers to switch over from Granada to C5 to catch a program about to begin.

C5 had initially said it would not use other TV outlets to promote itself. C5’s stated goal has been to reach a 5% share in the U.K. television ratings war by early next year. At present, it is averaging about 2.8%.

ITV’s ratings are slowly in decline, although the net still commands at least a 30% share of all British television viewers on a weekly basis. The losses are largely attributable to both C5 and the growth of satellite and cable in the U.K.

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