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Bradley Walsh: working in embattled mainstream media is like being in hospital

The media industry is awash with so-called experts but it’s not very often that you hear from a performer. ITV actor and presenter Bradley Walsh has been speaking at Advertising Week Europe in London and he has some interesting observations.

Bradley Walsh, Actor

On the great days of television and falling ITV revenues:

“I look upon myself coming up 63 and as having the halcyon days of television. I really do.”

“Now we are really up against it. For ITV, we’re 10% down on advertising revenue, which means the budgets are squeezed. And what happens there is you take the fun out of the job, because all of a sudden, we have to work to tighter constraints…it’s so sterile, it’s like being in a BUPA hospital.”

“Nowadays, we are fighting for views in mainstream TV.”

On trying to attract younger audiences: “We are fighting for viewers..We’ve lost you. We are struggling to get you back, the 16 – 24 year olds.”

On doing ads:

“I know people who will do an advert purely and simply for the money. Well, I’m sorry, but what you’re doing is lying. You’re cheating. I’ve never done that because nothing’s come along. I’ve been offered many and I’ve turned them down.”

But then:

“I would absolutely do an ad if 100% the right thing came along, and if I was happy with that brand and that brand was happy with me.” Well, let’s hope he gets the chance.

ITV is currently ensconced in the old LWT Thames-side offices (I think) when the weekend contractor was the epitome of showbiz and the bar played host to stars and media buyers, both, usually, equally pissed.

But it was fun and so was advertising outside those walls. You can’t put the genie back in the bottle of course but it’s a somewhat alarming contrast to the screen-fixated, “data-driven” world we have now.

Walsh is right: when the squeeze is on the fun goes out of it and the quality drops. The current level of even mainstream TV ads in the UK is dire.

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