Now Sky pinches Mad Men from the BBC – what are the corporation’s dozy executives playing at?

Mad Men, the Lionsgate-produced saga about admen in a fictional 1960s ad agency, has never gained huge viewing figures on either side of the Atlantic but that’s partly to do with how it’s been broadcast and promoted.

The BBC, which currently has the rights, has confined it to BBC4, an excellent digital channel which only broadcasts to limited numbers of people in evenings only, or a graveyard slot on BBC2. In the meantime it fills its main channels with schlock like Holby City and old people do dancing.

Now Sky has stepped in and done a deal with various US cable producers, like the mighty HBO and also Lionsgate, to nab Mad Men and other sexy US cable shows for a new pay channel, Sky Atlantic.

And you can bet that it will make Sky Atlantic too expensive for cash-strapped competitors like UK cable firm Virgin Media to carry.

Meanwhile the Beeb, which has quite enough money to buy Mad Men and others, twiddles its thumbs.

It’s quite pathetic really. Sky is a formidable broadcasting organisation but someone needs to give it a run for its money.

A replacement for serial ditherer Mark Thompson at the BBC would be a start.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.