Channel 5 has played down the commercial implications of its
lower-than-anticipated coverage, claiming that airtime sales are healthy
even though only 50 per cent of homes receive the channel and many of
them are subject to poor picture quality.
A second sweep of qualitative research by Manning Gottlieb Media found
screen snow, aerial problems and video interference affected half of its
sample, with the worst problems experienced in London. Within many
homes, the channel can only be accessed on one TV set.
On the plus side, MGM found that the most enthusiastic viewers are young
and mainstream and feel that Channel 5 is filling clear gaps. So far,
they rate the output at five out of ten and expect the programming to
improve over the next six months.
Viewers noted the lack of UK drama series, but the Jack Docherty Show is
a resounding success among younger consumers, while the nightly soap,
Family Affairs, is considered accessible.
But Channel 5 news is considered to be lacking depth by upmarket 25- to
44-year-old men, while women in the same age group dislike the punchy
Interest in the movie slot is mixed, with concern over the channel’s
ability to provide popular and up-to-date titles and the lack of a
Saturday night film.
A fresh marketing drive is now planned to promote forthcoming programmes
such as the England versus Poland World Cup qualifier. It will also
remind people to tune their TV sets in to receive the channel and where
to find it on the Astra satellite.
The launch on Astra last week gave Channel 5 the same share of viewing
in satellite homes as in all homes - 2.6 per cent.
And despite disappointing overall coverage, Nick Milligan, the sales
director of Channel 5, said commercial impacts were within predictions
of 4 to 6 per cent.
’It appears we have secured nearly 7 per cent of all viewing in homes
that can receive us. That number exceeds even our full-year plan, so the
great opportunity now is to get in more homes at this viewing share,’ he