Question of the week: do UK TV networks need to improve their marketing?

Awake billboard

So in this age of multi-channel television, one of the biggest problems TV networks have is getting people’s attention. When there are so many things vying for attention, why would you watch one channel rather than another? Sure, there are TV guides but you have to buy those; there’s an EPG, but you have to scroll through those both down channels and through times; there are adverts on TV for shows – but usually only for those channels’ TV shows. It doesn’t exactly help that we don’t have “seasons”, so we don’t know with any predictability when new shows are going to start at any point in the year.

As a result, it’s entirely possible to miss good stuff on UK TV. Not so in the US (well, okay, maybe a bit), where billboards all over a city can be covered with adverts for new shows, every web site has banner ads and magazines are full of ads. It also helps that everyone knows when the new seasons start, there’s Facebook and social media marketing aplenty, email newsletters and more.

New Girl billboard

By contrast, I think I spotted one Red Dwarf X billboard in Charing Cross station and the only channel that has a decent alert email newsletter that I know of is BBC4.

Red Dwarf X tube advert

So this week’s question is

Do UK TV networks need to improve their marketing or should we just keep our eyes open for the good stuff and let marketing money be funnelled into TV production instead? Or, actually, are UK TV networks doing enough already and would more advertising put you off?

As always, answers below or on your own blog, please?

  • Robin Parker

    If you use the tube in London, it's quite hard to miss big C4 shows (Homeland, Paralympics and HotelGB all had big poster campaigns). Sky and FX certainly splash the cash on most of their big shows too.

  • There were a lot for the Paralympics, but I've not seen many ads for dramas. Dare you to find a The Secret State poster 😉

  • Robin Parker

    Homeland well advertised though. Other notable c4 ones: Jamie's Dream School, Big Fat Gypsy Wedding (notoriously).

  • So Channel 4: good at advertising reality shows on the Tube. Fair dos. But that's largely for shows that are already established (Homeland, BFGW) and have a well known star (Jamie Oliver). Would you say they promote new shows well?

    How about BBC2, Channel 5, et al, too?

  • Mark Carroll

    I am fine with them using the money to produce shows and my using you to find the good ones. (-:

    More seriously, I wonder if Web-2.0-stuff should be making it easier for people to find truly good things by word of mouth, rather than having to rely on the traditional marketing channels. Whether it actually is, or not, I don't know.

  • bob

    Bloggers are the best way to get word out. *panders*

  • Good pandering.

    I wonder why I have to badger them so much, though…

  • Rullsenberg

    The last time I remember a channel programme advert on a billboard (outside London) was 'Casanova”. Somehow that got my attention…

  • Julia Williams

    We have a big billboard locally that does feature new TV progs. Mainly for Sky though. Rob, when I mentioned Hebburn to you the other day, you said it had gone under the radar. Me too. I stumbled across it by accident, and yet Cuckoo was heavily promoted. I did enjoy Cuckoo, but I think Hebburn is much much better. Maybe the Beeb don't think there's as much mileage in promoting programmes on BBC2 as they do for BBC3?

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