C5 to move nightly news to 7pm slot to boost peak viewing

Channel 5 is hoping to boost its peaktime audiences and strengthen its early evening competition against Channel 4 by shifting its nightly news slot to the earlier time of 7pm from the new year.

Channel 5 is hoping to boost its peaktime audiences and strengthen

its early evening competition against Channel 4 by shifting its nightly

news slot to the earlier time of 7pm from the new year.



The Channel 5 news at present occupies the 8.30pm slot and attracts an

average of 500,000 viewers. From 5 January it will be rescheduled

head-to-head with Channel 4’s nightly news bulletin.



This will free Channel 5’s 8.30pm slot for entertainment programming,

which is likely to draw in larger audiences.



Channel 5 is understood to have originally proposed a 7pm news slot in

its licence application, only to be told that this would not be allowed

unless its news coverage was substantially different from that on offer

from Channel 4.



Seven months after the channel launched, Channel 5’s news team,

including Rob Butler, Kirsty Young and Scott Chisholm, has met with some

acclaim and the Independent Television Commission is understood to have

agreed that the format is different enough to run against Channel 4’s

news.



Channel 5 says that, despite the success of its news, the move will

boost peaktime audiences by allowing it to schedule more competitive

general programming in the prime 8.30pm slot.



Nick Milligan, the sales director of Channel 5, said: ’We will schedule

entertainment, factual and feature shows in the 8.30pm slot. This will

maximise our audience flow right through into our 9pm films.’



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