CAMPAIGNS: Media Launch; X marks the erotic TV slot’

Client: Television X - The Fantasy Channel PR Team: Larkspur Communications Campaign: The unveiling of the autumn programming schedule for Television X- The Fantasy Channel Timing: August/September 1995 Cost: pounds 50,000

Client: Television X - The Fantasy Channel

PR Team: Larkspur Communications

Campaign: The unveiling of the autumn programming schedule for

Television X- The Fantasy Channel

Timing: August/September 1995

Cost: pounds 50,000



Television X - The Fantasy Channel was the first adult channel to

launch on satellite in June 1995. The channel was initially broadcast

only on UK Living’s Astra transponder from midnight to 4am. Although a

number of viewers complained - after dozing off in front of UK Living

and awakening to find something unexpectedly explicit invading their

living rooms - initial uptake was said to be ‘solid’.



However a publicity boost was needed to encourage uptake by cable

operators, prior to the launch of competing services, The Playboy

Channel, Sport Newspapers-backed Babylon Blue and US-backed The Adam and

Eve Channel, and the arrival in the UK of continental stations Eurotica

and Rendez Vous.



Objectives



The campaign’s objectives were to increase awareness of Television X -

The Fantasy Channel across the male mass market; to demonstrate the

channel’s heritage - it is backed by a sister company to Portland

Publishing which produces two-thirds of top shelf titles - and to

illustrate the interest in the channel to encourage uptake by cable

operators.



Tactics



Matt Fearnley of Larkspur Communications organised a media presentation

of the channel’s autumn programming schedule at the British Academy of

Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) in Piccadilly on 7 September. To give

the story a strong tabloid angle, Divine Brown, the infamous LA

prostitute known for her brief association with actor Hugh Grant, was

announced as Television X - The Fantasy Channel’s new ‘Hollywood

Reporter’ and flown over to the UK, allegedly to ‘negotiate her

contract’.



Brown’s involvement was kept secret until 6 September, when her

impending arrival in the UK was leaked from LA to key tabloids.



The Television X event became the focus of activity for all those

wishing to talk to Brown, who arrived at BAFTA straight off the plane

from LA.



Prior to Brown’s arrival, a branded bus carrying Television X starlets

drove from Tower Hill through the City and central London, where its

inadvertent ‘breakdowns’, sending its scantily-clad passengers spewing

on to the streets, attracted maximum interest among the Television X’s

target audience. The girls’ arrival at BAFTA, shortly before that of

Brown herself, provided perfect photo-opportunities for the flesh-

thirsty tabloids.



Results



Divine Brown’s presence - despite the Guardian’s report that she

appeared dazed and was heard to murmur, ‘I’m not really here you know,’

- ensured that the event obtained substantial coverage.



The total circulation of the national, trade and regional press which

ran the story was around 30 million. Radio coverage, principally in

London, notched up a total listener figure of 1.9 million and television

coverage on GMTV and London Tonight reached a total of 7.8 million

people.



Television X - The Fantasy Channel currently receives between 2,500 and

3,000 enquiries per day. The target of 100,000 paid-up subscribers by

Christmas is said to be ‘within reach’. Television X - The Fantasy

Channel is now available through cable company TeleWest and Fearnley

reports that completion of deals with two additional cable operators,

who don’t wish to be named.



Verdict



Larkspur’s campaign perfectly exploited Television X - The Fantasy

Channel’s laddish and raunchy attitude. However, not surprisingly,

Brown’s presence, for a mere pounds 20,000 fee, successfully eclipsed

any possible interest in the channel’s autumn schedule.



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