This week in London - ITV's ad revenue, Coronation Street, I’m a celebrity

James Bunn
By James Bunn | 17 August 2020
James Bunn

The Australian-UK friendship is the stuff of legend. Perhaps born of its colonial and penal past and maintained through a shared Monarch, Commonwealth and love of Rugby and Cricket.

We’re frenemies, but while some in the UK tut-tut at Australia’s tough immigration stance, some quietly question whether they might be on to something in a time when strong border control seems to be winning the war against COVID-19 elsewhere.

Conversely, some in today’s multiculturally diverse Australia were alarmed to learn of the 2016 Brexit vote, perceiving a xenophobia to Europe.

There may be compensations in a world free of EU discrimination. The playing field may be levelled at year-end to accommodate a new Australia-UK free trade deal.

It's not all about lamb and lamingtons, cheaper Aston-Martins and Dyson vacuum cleaners, many see BBC bodice rippers as a mainstay of the ABC and the London Palladium would love to see Kylie and Jason in a pantomime this Christmas.

With global warming increasing summer temperatures well into the high 30s, “bush” fires threaten the Surrey Hills near Woking. And as social distancing locals rediscover Britain’s own sand beaches perhaps the similarities are increasing.

The Third World War against the coronavirus has been a terrible challenge worldwide but lockdown has forced everyone to stay close to home. Social disorder and push-back in the London suburb of Victoria is challenging local police just as in the state of Victoria.

Rumour has it, that some of Westminster’s advisors are expat Australians. So, when someone decided to award public money for people to stay home and sit on the sofa in both countries, broadcasters planned for boomtimes ahead.

Sadly, while ratings have boomed, the advertisers just haven’t cottoned-on to the value of a captive audience.

ITV, the network behind Coronation Street, just like counterparts Seven, Nine and Ten in Australia, is grappling with declining ad revenue, with pre-tax profits falling 93% to £15 million in the six months to June.

Advertising revenue for the June quarter dropped 43%.

But this week, they said that viewing continues to trend upwards as we look “for people we can trust” in times of crisis.

“All viewing went up during the pandemic – comedy and drama, but especially news” and since June, ITV has been on “an upward trajectory” for programming and advertising, said a spokesperson.

Still, there’s no escaping hard times, and because of COVID travel restrictions, the next series of their flagship “I’m a celebrity get me out of here” won’t be filmed in the “Australian jungle” (near the Gold Coast, apparently) but a haunted castle in old North Wales (as opposed to NSW). 

The Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey says that economic recovery had been “earlier and rapid” than predicted and that the only way for banks to come through the crisis is to keep lending.

So, home lockdown has created a boom in real estate enquiries; maybe continuous house price rises are another Australian tradition about to be adopted in the UK. 

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