As you scroll through the endless music channels that Sky seems to
produce, your eyes are blurred by the monotonous ritual. Another company
has tried to break into the pop world with a new station which claims to
be a hotbed of excitement - Smash Hits channel from Emap
Smash Hits was launched last month on Sky Digital, broadcasting the
latest hits to its audience. Smash Hits faces many other rival music
channels, such as MTV and even its sister channel, The Box. A straw poll
among my friends deemed this as the "Bubble Gum" pop show which appeals
to the 11- to 13-year-old audience.
Smash Hits' core audience is children aged up to 17 years old and it is
already being deplored for not being "cool". However, new channels will
always be criticised and this one is now up with the big boys of pop TV.
Through advertising and support from The Box it is now considered as one
of the family in the TV music world.
Looking at the core content of the channel, its staple is music videos
from the top 30, with new releases topping the bill. Like The Box,
viewers can call in and request the videos they'd like to see. Unlike
MTV, which has the distinctive VJ commentary going on between video
takes, Smash Hits is an endless stream of music videos with little else
The big daddy of the music channels, MTV, and the other channels
mentioned before, will not appreciate this attempt to enter their empire
because now they may have something to worry about. Smash Hits may be
just another music channel in Sky Digital's universe, but it offers
everything to its target audience.
The Smash Hits brand conjures up the image of a young, teeny pop
audience because of its original media property, Smash Hits magazine.
But the channel is meant to appeal to a very broad audience group. Emap
has therefore attempted to approach it in a more sophisticated way to
try and attract an older crowd of twenty- and thirty- somethings,
although I'm not sure that this has worked.
Smash Hits is the newcomer and the underdog and it may just surprise us
and challenge the likes of MTV, VH1 and Kiss, transforming itself into a
truly great music channel. It's a new channel, and as it finds its feet,
it may improve. But I think the channel has a lot of potential and there
will be a lot more animation and excitement to come from this young
Media owner: Emap Performance
Transmission hours: 24 hours on Sky Digital
Core target audience: 15- to 34-year-olds
Audience share: 0.4 per cent (individuals watching Sky Digital)
Cost of a 30-second spot: pounds 155.70
Advertisers include: Fanta, Kellogg's Frosties, Telstar Records, Aero