Showtime to carry Corrie

Coronation Street will appear on Showtime’s Style UK channel from June 4 as the pay TV operator fleshes out its programming schedule to attract advertisers.

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By  Tim Burrowes Published  May 29, 2005

Soap opera Coronation Street will appear on Showtime’s Style UK channel from June 4 as the pay TV operator fleshes out its programming schedule and hopes to attract advertisers targeting English expatriates. However, agency experts are sceptical about how well the brand will travel. In the UK, the 45-year-old programme still brings in audiences in excess of 10 million for ITV, making it the country’s top rating commercial property. Media planners with a big campaign often make the centre ad break of Corrie a lynchpin of their schedule. Showtime hopes the unlikely mixture of characters drinking in the Rovers Return public house and Manchester rain will be a similar draw in the Middle East. Vida Rizq, Showtime’s marketing manager, said the satellite broadcaster believes Corronation Street is a major signing for the station. “Style UK is very much a British programming channel,” she said. “All of our programmes have previously been BBC properties such as Only Fools and Horses, Spooks, Cutting It and the Royle Family. But Coronation Street is going to be an excellent addition to the channel,” Rizq added. The programme will run about two weeks behind its original broadcast in the UK, and Showtime is currently contemplating putting together a two-hour special for launch night so viewers can catch up on current storylines. The station will also extend its transmission hours to 12 a day to coincide with Coronation Street’s arrival. Rizq claimed the new programme would be a valuable vehicle for advertisers trying to reach anglophiles. “It will be very desirable for that audience,” she said. However, Eric Mirabel, communications manager for media buying giant OMD, was less convinced. “It’s very niche. There will be some education needed for planner-buyers about this programme,” he said. “If Rover was still selling cars, or for a restaurant running a British carvery night, then fine, but for something wider in terms of appeal, I’m not sure.” Mirabel said that Showtime was estimated to have a penetration rate of only 5-8% in KSA, and even though it was higher in the UAE the proportion of subscribers likely to tune in to Style UK was small. “It might prove to be an audience success, but whether it is an advertising success remains to be seen,” he added.

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