Last week saw the launch of Turner Classic Movies (TCM), the second
film channel from the Turner Broadcasting stable. Targeting
16-34-year-olds, this is the UK’s seventh movie channel.
Turner Classic Movies is born as the development of video-on- demand
technology begins. However, where on-demand channels will act mainly as
film libraries and are unlikely to carry much advertising, individual
movie channels offer a branded, themed service for a specific
So who are the target viewers? Sky Premier shows blockbusters with a
broad appeal but Sky MovieMax takes a more kitsch style - 27 per cent of
its viewers are in the 25-34 category. Sky Cinema shows the oldies and
is unsurprisingly watched by the oldies (29 per cent are 45-54).
Turner’s TNT aims at a wide age group, while 41 per cent of FilmFour’s
audience is 35-44.
What is common to all these channels is a male bias. TNT heads the group
with a 61 per cent male viewership while Sky MovieMax has the most even
balance at 51 per cent male. The others fall between these extremes.
According to Peter Berkeley, business manager of commercial sales at
Sky, this male bias reflects multi-channel viewers overall. Most initial
subscribers are males attracted by sport with films being the next
The film channels mentioned here currently take a 4 per cent share of
viewing in multi-channel homes. With the advent of full video-on-demand,
however, dedicated film channels may struggle to keep up. Cable
companies NTL and Telewest are both trialling video-on-demand
Dan Brook, marketing chief at FilmFour, believes the British film
channel market is now ’maxed out’ but thinks the sector will remain
robust when full video-on-demand is introduced. ’It won’t kill film
channels. It is more likely to affect video sales than subscriber
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