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
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.'