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?


  • I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.