Desmond sets ‘unrealistic’ C5 targets

Industry experts have questioned Richard Desmond’s ambitious target to double Channel Five’s TV ad share, reports MediaGuardian.

But Northern & Shell, Desmond’s media empire, has moved to reassuring the 300 staff at the embattled broadcaster that it will “get to know the business” before announcing any major changes.

Desmond has already made an appearance on Live From Studio Five news, declaring: “Five is going to be huge.”

Concerns remain because of Desmond’s reputation for major spending cuts, but he has pledged to boost Five’s budget to about £1.5bn over the next five years and will use his other outlets, such as Express Newspapers, to raise the channel’s profile.

However, his aim of growing the channel’s share of the TV ad market from seven per cent to 14 per cent has been dismissed as unrealistic, with one media agency executive telling MediaGuardian that Five was more likely to reach around 10 per cent “in the next few years”, adding “TV is much more complex than [Desmond] might realise”.

Northern & Shell bought Five for £103m from RTL, who wrote off a £280m debt. The channel made a £34m loss last year, underlining the size of the challenge Desmond has taken on.

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