Channel 4 is on the hunt for a new sponsor for The Great British Bake Off at a pumped up price, after the new-look show defied critics and proved to be the broadcaster’s biggest hit in decades.
Sponsors Lyle’s golden syrup and baking product maker Dr Oetker are understood not to be seeking to renew their one-year deal, which turned out to be a bargain given the huge success of Channel 4’s first series.
Channel 4 is now seeking to cash-in on Bake Off’s success by raising the cost of the sponsorship from £4m to at least £5m a year and is likely to seek a single sponsor, as the increased asking price is too rich for Lyle’s and Dr Oetker to contemplate.
The broadcaster is sweetening the deal to include spin-off show Crème de la Crème, which features competing professional pastry chefs which previously aired on the BBC.
This has been added to a sponsorship package that includes the 10-part series later this year, two specials over the Christmas and festive period, and the Jo Brand-fronted main spin-off Extra Slice.
“Bake Off has proved far more successful than the market envisaged,” said a senior executive at one of the UK’s biggest media buying agencies.
“I’m not surprised Channel 4 want considerably more to sponsor the show. Most of the risk about whether it would deliver a large audience has been taken away, and it was very popular with hard-to-reach youth audiences. However, Bake Off is the type of show that only appeals to a limited range of advertisers, so it may not turn into a bidding frenzy.”
Poaching the biggest show on TV from the BBC had led Channel 4 to believe there would be a bun fight to sponsor the first series, with hopes that an £8m-plus dealof X Factor proportions might be struck.
However, when it emerged that of the original BBC presenting team only Paul Hollywood had signed up a bidding war failed to materialise, with advertisers fearing Channel 4 had a flop on its hands.