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Audi UK, the German prestige car maker, makes broadcasting history on Monday 24 October 2005 with the official launch of the Audi Channel. The company is the first car manufacturer in the world to transmit its own dedicated digital television channel and holds the first ever self-promotional licence, granted by Ofcom, setting a precedent in broadcasting regulations.
Audi Channel, which will broadcast 24 hours a day, seven days a week on the Sky Digital platform (currently channel 259), is also the first brand-specific entertainment channel in Europe. Audi is essentially the first brand to go beyond advertiser-funded TV programmes.
Audi is a prestigious, sophisticated and sporty brand and the Audi Channel will reflect this, showcasing the company’s range of premium, luxury vehicles – there will be nine major product launches alone during the channel’s first year. But Audi Channel will not just inform, it will also entertain.
Content extends far beyond the Audi product range. It will demonstrate an impressive array of Audi activities. Programmes will include Le Mans motor racing, the UK’s largest amateur golf tournament, Goodwood, high-goal polo and red carpet arrivals at some of the hottest events of the season. It will also feature interviews with top celebrities and informative documentaries, such as the history of Audi’s legendary quattro, the production of the thrilling Audi ‘ski jump’ ad and the making of a watch inspired by Audi with highly acclaimed jeweler, Stephen Webster.
Audi Channel befits the company’s core philosophy of Vorsprung durch Technik – advancement through technology – and is the latest addition to Audi’s extensive media portfolio, which has seen great success with its website (www.audi.co.uk), receiving over 700,000 visits per month, and its bi-annual Audi Magazine, which has a print run of more than 300,000 per issue. The Audi Channel is the result of two years of research and development into new ways of communicating with the public.
A marketing innovation, Audi Channel will allow the company to enjoy constant access to over 7.6million homes and nearly 21million individuals – it is set to capitalise on the phenomenal growth of digital television. ‘Ad avoidance’ is an increasingly important issue but while Audi will not be reducing its support of more traditional advertising forms, Audi Channel allows a new and important communication platform to a wide audience, enabling the viewer to spend more time engaging in a deeper way with the brand.
In the future, Audi plans to allow viewers to interact with the channel, providing them with various functions, such as finding their local dealership, requesting a brochure or booking a test drive.
“Audi is proud to be leading this development in brand entertainment,” says Gary Savage, Audi UK’s head of marketing. “Digital TV is a powerful communication platform with broad appeal, and will become ever more so as the entire country switches from analogue to digital between 2008 and 2012.
“Audi Channel will allow us to extend our relationship with current Audi owners – and reach out to a vast and ever-increasing pool of potential new customers. In the multi-channel age, viewers have the power to follow their own special interests, and Audi is the first major brand to seize this amazing opportunity afforded by advances in digital technology.
“With hundreds of channels available, content is king: Audi Channel’s first-class schedule promises to keep viewers informed, educated and entertained with a rolling production schedule of varied programming.”
Working alongside Audi on the dedicated television channel is the company’s UK advertising agency, BBH, which has been instrumental in the development phase. North One has provided the expertise in both the production of new material and the incorporation of existing footage.
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