C4 expect to make a loss on our coverage of the Ashes series

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CHANNEL 4 has been stumped by the England cricket team and the unexpected popularity of this summer’s Ashes contest and expects to make a loss on its coverage, the broadcaster said yesterday.
Advertisers, who bought the bulk of available airtime months in advance, have struck a relative bargain on expectations that the series would be only a little more popular than last summer’s home series against the West Indies. That turned out to be an underestimate.

A spokeswoman for the broadcaster said: “If only the market was different. But 80 to 90 per cent of the airtime has been sold in advance and we still expect to make a loss on our coverage of the Ashes series.”

Channel 4 paid about £19 million a year for the live rights to show Test cricket, rights that are due to pass to BSkyB when the Australian tour is over and which will last until 2009. Its broadcast costs are estimated at about £7.5 million a year.

Before Australia arrived, Test matches were winning television audiences of 1 million to 1.5 million. Channel 4 estimated that the arrival of England’s oldest enemies would see a 25 per cent rise in viewing, taking figures to 1.25 to 1.9 million.

However, the closeness of the matches, and England’s success so far, have ensured higher viewing figures than that. The Old Trafford test captured the attention of 2.5 million viewers, including 7.7 million at its peak, when the Australians scraped a draw.

The Trent Bridge test, in which England scraped home, was watched by 8.4 million, Channel 4’s biggest audience of the year, beating even the final of Big Brother. Average viewing was 2.9 million across all the sessions of the game.

While Channel 4 has struggled, advertisers will be pleased with a relative bargain. Betfair, the bettting exchange, paid “a six-figure” sum to sponsor the coverage with a series of short sketches that appear at each end of the ad breaks.

A spokesman for Betfair said: “At the time we did the deal, the feeling was that this would be a series that few people would watch. We think it has turned out to be a very worthwhile thing to do.”

Channel 4 believes that it will have helped Sky, which is 36.8 per cent owned by News Corporation, parent company of The Times, to ensure that itmakes more from advertising sales when it takes over the coverage. However, because only about half of British households can receive Sky, overall viewing figures are likely to be far lower than would be achieved on free-to-air television.

Source: The Times
 

twag42

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good bargain for the advertisers,channel 4 could have gambled that this would happen,and held out for more money.unfor4tunately for them and good for the advertisers,its drawing in more viewers than anticipated.chaqnnel 4 havent lost any money,theyve already been paid for the ad-space,they just didnt get what they could have got.

TWAG
 

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Did you all know that British Airways are offering flights to Australia for the price off....

Australia's first innings in the last test?

Let's hope it's 99 all out then...



here...
 
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