VH-1 TUNES UP FOR U.K. DEBUT LOCAL ADVERTISERS, PROGRAMMING ARE CORE TO SERVICE

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LONDON-MTV Networks Europe plans to rope local advertising by offering VH-1 to 25-to-49-year-olds in more than 3 million homes that get satellite or cable TV in the U.K.

The VH-1 channel will make its debut Sept. 30, tailored to the U.K. audience with about 70% of programming to be locally produced.

The effort is not a sign that the MTV Networks Europe channel, a subsidiary of New York-based Viacom, is abandoning its mainstay pan-European advertisers, but a recognition that there is additional opportunity in targeting national markets.

And the U.K. effort is just the first.

"These are all strategic initiatives, another way of extending the marketing packages we offer advertisers," said Frank Brown, advertising sales director, MTV Networks Europe.

Received in 61 million cable and satellite TV homes in Europe, the MTV Europe channel is a must-buy for companies targeting youth. The channel made $70 million from ad sales in 1992, an 80% increase from the year before, according to industry figures.

Pan-European advertisers on MTV Europe can tell viewers where their product is available locally or add a direct response element by listing a phone number in the new MTVE Text teletext service.

The plan is for VH-1 to provide advertisers a separate but complementary service to MTV Europe, Mr. Brown said. "We expect fast-moving consumer goods companies, auto manufacturers, financial services groups and consumer electronics companies to be the major advertisers" on VH-1.

Media buyers are endorsing the channel.

"As a concept, it has great potential," said Chris Locke, executive TV buying director at the Media Centre. The media buying company's clients, such as Anheuser-Busch's Budweiser beer, may be interested in buying time on VH-1.

"It will attract revenue," said John Dovey, head of TV, CIA Media Network, another media buying company. "All you need to do is look at the success of [U.K. classical music radio station] Classic FM and you can see VH-1 will fill a gap" by also targeting an older audience.

A $1 million TV and print campaign broke Sept. 5 to herald the coming of VH-1, with ads featuring celebrities such as designer Bruce Oldfield and rugby star Will Carling talking about their favorite songs.

The "Music that means something" campaign was created by Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe, VH-1's agency.

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