BBC First reveals new channel sponsor

Mariam Cheik-Hussein
By Mariam Cheik-Hussein | 31 January 2019

BBC First and luxury cruise line Cunard have entered into a sponsorship deal, as the channel reports a rise in its younger demographic.

BBC First shows on Foxtel's channel 117 in Australia.

The four-month partnership, developed by MCN, begins 3 February and includes the sponsorship of some highly anticipated dramas, such as Tin Star Series and Shetland.

It comes as BBC First's key ad sales demographic of people aged 25-54 grows, with live audiences up 46% across the day and 27% across primetime over the month of December.

BBC Studios ANZ head of brand partnership and channel advertising Kirsty Muir said the sponsorship comes at a positive time for the channel.

“With our live audience continuing to grow, we are delighted that Cunard has come on board as our new channel sponsor for BBC First,” Muir said.

“The luxury brand is the perfect fit for our impressive slate of hugely popular returning dramas that, like Cunard, boast a strong heritage and take people on an exciting and unforgettable journey.”

As part of the package, BBC Studios is producing a suite of assets for Cunard to align its brand with BBC First’s TV and social platform. This includes integrated billboards, partnership spots and behind the scenes footage.

MCN head of global partners Sarah Lattouf said the partnership allows the two to deliver strategic outcomes.

“We’re thrilled to have connected a first class broadcaster with a luxury brand like Cunard to provide audiences with relevant, engaging content,” Lattouf said.

“This partnership perfectly demonstrates the power of two brands coming together to deliver strategic outcomes.”

Last year the broadcaster said it had no desire to pursue an independent streaming strategy in Australia, and remained convinced its programming and integration with Foxtel is a better model to reach younger audiences.

While streaming is more popular among young demographics and continues to grow audiences for free-to-air networks, BBC Studios ANZ director of branded services Tim Christlieb said Australians have more traditional viewing habits than international markets.

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