Big Brother sponsers could pay £5m

The battle to sponsor the next series of Big Brother could see the highest bidder paying more than £5 million for the privilege, it has been predicted.

Channel 4 is currently preparing for round two of its fly-on-the-wall gameshow with a new series planned for later this year.

The last series was so successful it attracted an average audience of 4.7 million viewers during its run between July and September last year, making it the channel's third highest rating programme.

Southern Comfort shared in the show's phenomenal success after paying a reported £1 million to become its official sponsor. But it may now have to pay a lot more if it wants to seal the next deal, according to one expert.

Rumours that Channel 4 bosses will pick contestants most likely to have sex on Big Brother 2 could also inflate the cost of the contract, most probably among companies aiming to hit a young market.

Tom Blackett, group deputy chairman of leading branding consultancy Interbrand, said: 'I would expect a much bigger sponsorship deal for the next series.

'When you add up all the air time Southern Comfort got from its association with such an amazingly successful TV show, then £1 million was very good business.

'I would expect the next deal to be for at least £5 million and perhaps even more. Viewers can't wait for the show to come back so whoever secures the sponsorship deal is almost certain to be doing very wise business.

'The show is particularly perfect for an advertiser trying to reach a young market.'

A Channel 4 spokeswoman said it was already talking to potential sponsors for the next show, but refused to disclose any names.

She said: 'We are talking to different people about sponsoring the new series but a figure of £5 million is just speculation. We never discuss figures.'

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