The nation’s commercial television channels are expecting bumper payouts from their advertisers as viewers switch over during the ‘sad bits’ of tonight’s Comic Relief telethon.
It is expected that 73% of viewers would rather be sold to by car manufacturers, chocolate suppliers, or even the Army, than watch skinny African children covered in flies.
“I don’t know why they put that stuff right in the middle of a comedy show?” said Alicia Goss, 24.
“They make us laugh, and then put those frankly disturbing images up in front of us. It really ruins the punchlines.”
With the advertising industry taking a spectacular beating in the last six months, tonight’s leap in transitory viewing figures is a welcome relief.
“It’s been tough, but those suffering kids are like an oasis of discretionary revenue.” said one ITV executive.
“We see this appeal as being equally important for advertising executives around the country.”
With the credit crunch biting hard, donations are expected to be down tonight and top psychologists are predicting this will simply mean more people switch over.
“It’s the typical ‘If I can’t see it, it isn’t happening'” scenario said Dr. Karl Schwartz.
“How can you feel guilty about not giving money to a child you didn’t even know existed? Simple. You can’t.” he concluded.
Teams of planners at independent channels around the country are now preparing for their biggest night of the year.
“The challenge is in timing an advert at exactly the moment they switch to an African appeal,” confided on Sky One scheduler.
“But we’ve had over twenty years experience of this now, and we’re confident tonight will go without a hitch.”