NEWS: Channel 5 contract heralds massive task

One of next year’s biggest consumer PR tasks is one step closer following the award of the Channel 5 licence to Pearson-led consortium Channel 5 Broadcasting last week.

One of next year’s biggest consumer PR tasks is one step closer

following the award of the Channel 5 licence to Pearson-led consortium

Channel 5 Broadcasting last week.



The consortium faces a PR minefield in its bid to re-tune videos in up

to 10 million British homes next summer - a task for which it has set

aside a budget of pounds 55 million.



The re-tuning programme, dubbed by some as a ‘burglar’s charter’, is

expected to run hand in hand with a ‘do-it-yourself’ campaign aimed at

explaining to viewers how they may be able to re-tune their videos

themselves.



If successful, do-it-yourself re-tuning could considerably reduce the

number of home visits ahead of its January 1997 launch, and slash the

high launch cost for the channel built into its business plan.



Roy Addison, director of communications for Pearson Television, which

led PR for the winning bid, played down the chances of any early

decisions on PR. He said: ‘Our staff have to await the appointment of a

chief executive. We have our own ideas about how to handle PR for the

launch. We are some way off being able to say what external requirements

there might be.’



However, agency sources suggest that Channel 5 will inevitably be forced

to hold its own auction among top consumer PR agencies to help tackle

the nationwide video retuning programme.



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