It seems your typical media exec reads The Mirror, listens to Radio 3 on the way to work and thinks heat is the only magazine they’ll ever really need. Only kidding. In fact Media Week’s annual survey of what the media industry really thinks about what’s hot and what’s not, turned up a wide range of choices and opinions. Step forward the people who voted News Bunny and Jeffrey Archer as media personalities of the year.
And as for those of you who nominated your bosses, the temptation to expose your blatant brown-nosing to the world has been foiled by the fact that the poll is secret – unfortunately we can’t reveal your names.
The poll was conducted amongst 180 media movers and shakers up and down the land in the two weeks to December 8. This year we introduced four new categories; media brand hit of the year, media brand miss of the year, ad campaign of the year and media personality of the year.
This is what you thought...
Last year two American C4 import comedies – Friends and Frasier – were voted the industry’s favourite TV programmes.
This year it was two home grown comedies – ITV’s Cold Feet and BBC 1’s The Royle Family – which took the lion’s share of the votes. Last year the first Cold Feet series came third with around 5% of the vote. This year the second series saw Cold Feet storm into the number one slot with a stonking great 14.6% of the vote.
Similarly, the first series of BBC 1’s The Royle Family, which last year won just over 4% of the vote, nearly doubled its share with the second series. The move from BBC 2 to 1 clearly did it no harm at all.
Although Friends and, particularly, Frasier dipped a bit this year C4 was well represented amongst the top programmes by Ally McBeal which more than doubled its score from last year. It seems the thinner Ally McBeal gets the fatter her share of the vote. How irritating is that?
BBC 1’s Walking with Dinosaurs stampeded into the charts as the only factual (although some would dispute that) programme to score.
Whither the soaps? Corrie, Brookie and EastEnders all secured top 10 places last year. But this year only EastEnders scored – heavy trailing (EastEnders also picked up a couple of votes as media brand of the year) and plenty of shag-happy story lines paid off.
But how to explain the demise of Brookside, which earned not a single vote? “I just stopped caring”, said one former supporter.
Cold Feet apart, the only ITV programme to make the top 10 was Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? And as for Sky it’s sad to see The Simpsons which have failed to register this year after two strong years in the top 10.
The only other Sky programme to score anything at all was Soccer AM. This year not a single C5 programme earned a single vote. No change there then.
Once again the poll showed media folk to be a bunch of bleedin’ Guardian readers. The paper won easily for the third time in succession with more than 25% of the votes, down a bit on last year’s 28.8% share but still more than its two nearest rivals put together. Second and third place went, as in the last two years, to The Times and The Daily Telegraph respectively.
The Independent continues to punch above its circulation figure weight. Some suggestion here of a residual loyalty/sympathy vote, as one voter put it, “it’s something that seemed like a good idea at the time”.
Rosie Boycott can crack open the bolly because The Express stormed into the charts at number seven with 5.1% of the vote – which might not seem much but it is the first time the paper has ever been in the top 10. Indeed, it’s the first time anybody has voted for it at all. Less good news for rival the Daily Mail, which went from 11.8% of the vote last year to a meagre 3.4% this year.
Top of the red tops, and virtually the only red top apart from the Sport to score any votes at all, was The Sun, which more than doubled its score to 6.6% from last year’s figure of 2.9%. For the third year running the Daily Mirror failed to register a single vote.
Radio 4’s Today programme continues to dominate this category thanks to anchors such as John Humphrys. Slightly down on last year’s 16.8% score but still showing a clean pair of heels to the much maligned Chris Evans and Virgin Radio. It hasn’t been the best of years for Mr Evans while two years ago he was number one with a massive 17% of the vote, last year he was down to 9.5% and this year he’s slipped to 8.2%.
Problems too for Chris Tarrant, who’s been neck and neck with Evans for the last two years but this year just managed to cling on to a top 10 place, having dropped from 11.8% to 3% in two years. “Sounds like he’s coasting”, is how one former fan explained things. Perhaps Mr Tarrant is too busy not quite turning people into millionaires to keep his eye on the radio ball.
The most impressive new entry in this category was Mrs Fat Boy Slim, aka Zoë Ball, who came from nowhere in last year’s chart to a healthy top 10 position. The glamorous Ms Ball attracted 5.4% of the vote and scooped the number three slot just beating Chris Moyles, the self-proclaimed saviour of Radio 1 and front runner to take Zoë Ball’s breakfast slot next year.
The rise of Terry Wogan to a virtual cult status is as perplexing as it is worrying, but he dragged Radio 2 into the top 10 for the first time. GLR scored well too with Sean Hughes’ show but there was no real sign of Kiss as a morning slot challenger.
Radio 1’s Mark and Lard also deserve a mention in dispatches as the highest-ranking show outside the breakfast and drive-time slots Fifty radio programmes were voted for in total. However, poor old Classic FM failed to pull a single vote.
Overall, commercial radio took only 35% of the total vote. As one voter put it: “I just can’t stand all those bloody adverts.” Radio 4 and Radio 1 were the most popular channels – eight Radio 4 and and 11 Radio 1 programmes were nominated. Altogether the stations notched up just over 22% cent of the total radio vote each. Virgin proved the most popular commercial channel notching up 16% of votes.
Two years ago Marie Claire didn’t appear in the top 10. Last year it shot in at number two and this year doubled its percentage score to 8.8% coming within a whisker of third-time winner FHM which scored 9.4% of the vote.
Only Cosmopolitan gave any direct challenge to Marie Claire in terms of women’s mags with Red, Vogue and Vanity Fair, all former top tenners and virtual no-showers this year. Similarly, FHM was miles ahead of its nearest men’s/lads mags rival, Loaded.
The battle for post-exclamatory irony was won hands down by OK!, more than double! the vote! of Hello!
Another impressive showing came from Wallpaper. Two years ago, Wallpaper was a brash newcomer. It just keeps getting stronger with a commendable fourth place this year. “It’s really carved out a niche”, says one admirer.
The only other real surprise was a first time top 10 entry for Private Eye, which clearly has no serious rival in terms of adult satirical humour – Viz failed to score again.
It was a poor year for newcomers. Later got a couple of honorary mentions, as did New Eden. Heat gained one vote but no sign of Front, Real Homes or Shine.
Media personality of the year
A large number of votes had to be discarded in this category due to blatant brown-nosing (ie, votes for the boss).
But for those who obeyed the rules there was simply no contest here. “He’s made a real impact at ITV in such a short time”, said one voter. “Just consistently impressive”, said another. “He strides through he media world like a colossus, we must simply bow to his magnificence”, said a third. Actually, I made the last one up.
Admiration for Richard Eyre is impressive nevertheless as ITV’s departing chief exec took a massive 21% of the vote.
Only two others scored more than one or two votes. Sly Bailey, chief executive at IPC, came a most respectable second with 9.5% of the vote beating Chris Evans (7.4%) into third place. These two were followed by Jeffrey Archer and the News Bunny (RIP). Get a grip.
Ad campaign of the year
You know that advert for Delonghi microwave ovens? No? Well somebody liked it. Somebody likes almost everything, it seems, so there was a huge spread of votes in this new sector. But two campaigns stood out by a mile. The boys and girls from the happy land of Gap sang and danced their way to the top, scooping 17.3% of the vote. Only those clever amphibians and reptiles from Budweiser were within spitting distance slithering their way to a 9.2% share of the votes.
The Nescafé series of celebrity ads scored well, with special mentions for the very lovely Denise Van Outen and the completely gorgeous Ian Wright (amazingly his ground-breaking Chicken Tonight ad went completely unrewarded).
Surprisingly, Levi’s Flat Eric only just crept into the top 10. “Frankly, Flat Eric is past it”, said one voter.
Media hit of the year
The media industry rewarded Sky Digital’s herculean efforts to sign up new subscribers by voting it joint media brand hit of the year with Metro; both scooped 8.7% of the vote.
While Metro only scored one vote in the newspaper category it obviously impressed the industry genuinely breaking new media ground.
C4 emerged as favourite terrestrial TV channel by achieving fourth place while ITV, BBC and C5 tied for seventh place. Posh & Becks scored one rather imaginative vote – but please don’t encourage them.
Media miss of the year
No competition in this category. heat simply failed to set the media world alight with 17.7% voting it media miss of the year. “A good idea badly executed,” said one voter.
Second place here went to the News At Ten move, which 8.2% of voters considered a mistake. ITV might feel this is a bit ungrateful of the media industry, after all they moved News At Ten just for you.
There clearly are ambivalent feelings towards ONdigital. Rated tenth equal as media brand of the year along with Capital Radio and Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, it was also voted fourth biggest media flop of the year.
This article was first published on Media Week