ITV chief talks up Coronation Street as it hunts new sponsor

ITV dismisses Netflix threat in patriotic defence of regional production

ITV has begun the hunt for a new headline sponsor for its flagship drama Coronation Street after its eight-year partnership with comparethemarket.com came to an end.

Opportunities are available for both on and off-air sponsorship of the long running serial to dovetail with the Mancunian drama's 60th anniversary at the end of this year.

Earlier this week, ITV chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall cited the success of classic dramas such as Coronation Street and why these kind of regional dramas can't be replicated by the streaming giants it finds itself competing against.

The commercial broadcaster believes its history and presence throughout Britain gives it an edge among patriotic viewers keen to see their own locales and dialects represented on screen, in addition to the latest American imports.

Lauding the grit and grime of Coronation Street over the gleam and glamour of Netflix’s selection McCall said: “The stories it tells, and the accent it tells them in, are not much seen or heard on British TV. This is not the shiny world of an American streaming box set.

“It is unapologetically about our lives, our culture, our issues and concerns. It tackles important, sometimes controversial, social issues: from childhood vaccinations to money-lending.”

Turning her fire on Sex Education, a Netflix drama filmed in Wales, McCall said: “It is designed to look like a US high school, with American footballs thrown around the playground.

"As one of the stars put it: ‘There is a bit of both worlds, decidedly, in the series, and the aim and the hope is that Americans won’t notice.’ We set out to show a very recognisable picture of life in this country.”

ITV is seeking to win over more commercial sponsors to its domain through initiatives such as the ITV Hub, which now counts in excess of 30 million users thanks to the success of formats such as Love Island.

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