How Not To Do Multi-Platform Programming

Another guest blog from Jupiter’s European Media analyst Nick Thomas

A story about ITV caught the eye yesterday.

It was something of a self-inflicted PR disaster. In an attempt to reinvigorate the flagship ITV1 brand, the broadcaster reverted to a strategy that served it well in the past by buying a top-notch US show for its primetime Saturday 9pm slot. Pushing Daisies is pretty good too, and also stars homegrown actress Anna Friel. According to one reviewer, 95% of straight men in Britain are in love with her. Not sure about the methodology but the findings sound about right. Cue acres of press coverage and a decent first-night audience.

But then ITV let slip that with only eight slots available in the schedule (for a nine-week series) they would simply drop the second episode. Its a decision that beggars belief, and a missed opportunity to highlight the multi-platform credentials its been working hard to acquire. A 30-second brainstorm in the Jupiter office generated the following solutions: start the high-profile new show with a double-bill; offer the second episode as an exclusive on itv.com to drive traffic and showcase a service which is losing out to the BBCs iPlayer; showcase the second episode on one of its digital channels; or a combination of all these.

Plenty of people within ITV could have come up with this list, but none of them it seems, is running the place. The incoming controller of ITV1 can expect a busy few months banging heads together.