Channel 5, the station that brought us copious helpings of Xena:
Warrior Princess, has just celebrated its third birthday.
Over the last three years, Channel 5 has gradually carved itself a niche
in the nation’s viewing schedule. Its share of viewing has risen from
2.9 per cent in 1997 to 5.4 per cent during 1999.
It is the only terrestrial channel to report a rising viewing share over
this period. The average adult watched an hour and 22 minutes of Channel
5 each week in 1999. This is up from just less than three-quarters of an
hour a week in 1997, according to Barb figures.
One of Channel 5’s strengths is its film output, which, in a survey
conducted by CIA MediaLab last month, was considered excellent by a
quarter of those questioned.
Independent Television Commission research reveals 20.8 per cent of
Channel 5’s programming comprises feature films.
However, the station has often been criticised for scheduling
low-quality entertainment series and broadcasting little original
Earlier this year, the ITC agreed to lower the proportion of original
drama on the station and, in return, Channel 5 committed to increasing
its investment in these drama series.
The commission stated that the channel ’suffers from the inclusion of a
great deal of low-budget material’. Its arts output remains at less than
half a per cent of the station’s total weekly programming.
Over the past three years, Channel 5 has seen its audience profile for
the prized ABC1 adults category increase by 4.0 per cent, to comprise
38.3 per cent of the channel’s adult audience so far this year.
ITV’s ABC1 adult audience profile, which has grown by 3.4 per cent over
the same period, is only slightly higher at 39.8 per cent. Despite its
reputation as a youth station, Channel 5’s fastest-growing audience is
the over 65s, which rose by 3.8 per cent between 1997 and February 2000
to comprise 23.5 per cent of its adult audience.
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