Now Channel 4 takes the Downton Abbey route – stuffing highly-rated Homeland with ads

Channel 4 and its one-time big brother ITV have their critical successes from time to time but, boy, don’t they milk them for all their worth.

Last night’s episode of Homeland, the topical thriller starring Damian Lewis and Claire Danes (apparently it’s Barack Obama’s favourite programme – hope he’s learning some useful counter-terrorism lessons) was stuffed full of ads, 16 minutes’ worth by my count and that’s not including the breaks before and after.

What made it worse was that the fact that these spots were obviously sold at a considerable premium so tended to attract the advertisers with budgets to match – raucous and garish ‘blockbuster’ movies and video games for the most part – thereby making the extended breaks even more intrusive. There was even an appearance by the unspeakable

There have already been moans and groans from UK TV viewers about this and it’s hardly a surprise. It’s exactly what ITV did when its period drama Downton Abbey began to bring in a classier-than-usual audience to the channel.

Which is what exactly? Proceed to drive them away by spoiling the programme entirely with a surfeit of advertising.

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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.

One comment

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    This stuffing with ads is self defeating. In future I shall tape the episodes so I can fast forward all the boring ads. All my family intend to do the same.