Saturday, January 03, 2004

CHART DEAL GOES FLAT: The BBC has announced that Coca-Cola isn't going to get its credits on TOTP and Radio One, in a tortuous re-reading of the producer guidelines. Apparently, because the broadcast world has moved on since the BPI first came up with the sponsorship idea, while it used to be appropriate to mention the sponsor at the 'event' of a first reading of the chart, in the BBC's words "the "reveal" of the weekly music chart [no loger] adequately constitutes an "event". In other words, the Top 40 is now - officially - meaningless.

Does this mean, though, the times when the Number One spot becomes a matter of public interest - at Christmas, or when there's a proper Oasis v Blur race for the title - the fizzy pop manufacturer can get its name mentioned on the programme?

That's if Coke wants to stick to the deal, which - without the artifical sweetener of the BBC plug - looks a lot less like value for money. Sure, newspapers which run the chart will be carrying the logo next to it, but without the reinforcement on air that the TOTP chart and the Coke Chart are the same thing, it's not going to have the same impact in the public mind; the shops which use the chart for the basis of their stock displays aren't going to be rushing to mention CocaCola when the company is actively building a download site to canabalise their sales, either. We'd imagine there's going to be some terse phonecalls between Coke and the BPI in the next few days. Of course, the BPI could choose to punish the BBC by taking its chart elsewhere, but we're not sure it's brave enough to unhook its chart from the state broadcaster.

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