CIA MediaLab survey criticises E4 tactics

The launch of E4 is a success in terms of consumer awareness

levels, according to the latest survey from CIA MediaLab. However, its

tactic of premiering popular TV series, previously previewed on Channel

4, threatens to have an adverse effect on its popularity.

CIA MediaLab, which based its results on a survey of 500 viewers, found

that more than 40 per cent of adults were aware of E4's launch two weeks

after the event, although the new entertainment channel had failed to

attract audience share for a number of its programmes.

One-quarter of viewers in multi-channel households claimed to have

watched and liked E4. A similar number of viewers were aware of the

channel but had not tuned in. Only 4 per cent of those who had tuned

into the station did not like it.

Just under one-third of those surveyed were annoyed that programmes such

as Friends, ER and Ally McBeal, were being shown first on E4. This

figure was much higher among E4's target audience of ABC1 15- to

24-year-olds, with 50 per cent of this group resenting this tactic.

One-quarter of all adults interviewed felt that Channel 4, as a publicly

owned broadcaster, should not be allowed to preview programmes on a

subscription channel.

David Fletcher, the vice-chairman of CIA and the head of CIA MediaLab,

said: 'The channel has been marketed with a very tight focus.

However, E4 needs to guard against polarising loyal terrestrial viewers

with restricted scheduling. It should be wary of putting all of its eggs

in the digital basket. Digital intake is on the rise, but the

terrestrial viewer still holds the commercial key to the TV market.'

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