US groups win ratings battle for TV identities

US TV identity designers are stealing a march on UK groups as the international broadcast industry attacks new markets, claims London consultancy Plume.

“British TV identity designers led the way for some time and now these companies are resting on their laurels and have been overtaken by foreign groups,” says Phil Heath, creative director of Plume. The group created the identity for Supersport cable channel in Scandinavia, launched this spring.

“In Eastern Europe and the Far and Middle East – the major TV growth areas – there is a desire for an American feel,” says Heath.

Martin Poole, managing director at the London arm of US firm Novocom, backs this up: “When it comes to launching bouquets [a cluster of channels starting simultaneously], that kind of work often goes to US consultancies.”

Novocom – which created the logo for MSNBC, the channel launched by Microsoft and NBC last week – opened an office in Singapore in May to exploit the relatively fresh Asian market.

While UK design group Lambie-Nairn agrees that TV audiences in new markets often expect a typical US style, clients also appreciate that the US look does not work for every region.

“Asia and Eastern Europe tend to view TV as an American substance, therefore [the identity] tries to emulate that,” says David Robinson, head of marketing and development at Lambie-Nairn.

“But US companies know that when they are working outside the US they must recognise the cultural differences”, Robinson adds, and cites his consultancy’s work for The Disney Channel in the UK to back his view.

Novocom is expanding its UK arm and is looking for a creative director and junior designers.

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