C4 [answers after Mole has navigated a series of automated menus and waited to speak to a person] Good afternoon, you're through to Channel 4 viewer enquiries, how can I help?
Mktg Hi, I'm calling about the opening ceremony for the Paralympics... I understand there have been quite a few complaints about the ad breaks. I wanted to find out why there were so many.
C4 Well, it's because we are a commercially funded station, so we need the ad breaks in order to achieve revenue. During the Paralympic Games we have had less time allowed for the break so that you won't miss any of the action. The same happened around the opening ceremony. We have a schedule of ad breaks that we have to keep to, as that is where we get our funding from, but what we tried to do is to have shorter ad breaks more often, so that we could come back to the action.
Mktg Is there any scope for Channel 4 to donate any of the money that it has made from the ad breaks to charities that, say, encourage children with disabilities to get into sport?
C4 I haven't heard anything, but I'm sure if that is a possibility they will let the press know. But, as I say, that is the way we generate our revenue – we don't get revenue from other sources.
Mktg Is there any reason why, during the opening ceremony, Jon Snow and Krishnan Guru-Murthy's commentary was not scripted? There were long periods of silence, there was talk about war-torn countries, but there wasn't a lot of information about the actual athletes who were coming out.
C4 It was obviously a live show, so the idea of it being scripted was maybe not something they wanted to go with. Jon Snow and Krishnan Guru-Murthy are well respected within their fields and certainly, they seemed to cope quite well; but I understand that some people may not have liked their performance or presenting skills.
Mktg OK. Will Channel 4 put out some kind of a statement about this?
C4 Well, anybody who writes in to us will get a response from Channel 4.
Mktg OK, thanks, bye.
Verdict: 6 out of 10
The call-handler had clearly been briefed on the broadcaster's response to complaints about ads during its Paralympics coverage. However, their lack of information regarding the opening ceremony's commentary, which had also received plenty of media coverage, left a lot to be desired.
This article was first published on marketingmagazine.co.uk