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Media: Talk of the Trade: Backers need deep pockets

MOST of the debate before this week's launch of Classic FM has been about its programming plans and their effect on BBC Radio 3. But what about the station's commercial prospects? A report by the advertising agency WCRS says it will have a struggle to reach its revenue target of pounds 10m a year, already down from original estimates of between pounds 12m- pounds 25m. The report points out that London's Capital Radio, the biggest commercial station, has an estimated revenue of pounds 22m, using mass-market advertisers who would not be attracted to the up-market Classic. The other problem is that commercial radio's share of total advertising has been stuck for the past five years at 2 per cent. 'It will be a considerable achievement to reach revenue approaching half that of Capital, while forced to rely on new advertisers,' the report says. 'Its backers will need persistence and deep pockets.' In the two months before the launch, the station sold pounds 1.3m worth of air time, just below its target.