Introducing Channel Health. Prescribed for your entertainment on
Sky Digital and occupying channel number 193, a new channel appeared on
our screens last week.
Describing itself as the UK’s first dedicated health and well-being
channel, it offers an original twist on health: apparently healthy
living is fun, sexy and empowering (in case you were wondering where you
had been going wrong all these years).
Now, before you all rush to tune in to find out how to deal with that
irritating rash or what to take for that embarrassing problem, stop.
It’s not, as I had presumed, a practical health guide (a la WebMD TV
from Fox Networks) but more a healthy living/lifestyle channel.
Its programming appears to span a broad range of topics all related in
some way or other to health, and much of it comes from either Australia
or the US. This may, of course, be because both those countries proclaim
to have much healthier citizens than us slothful lot in the UK, or maybe
it’s just cheap programming. I would not like to say.
One strand worth commenting on, however, is the coverage of alternative
medicine and remedies - certainly not something that receives enough
coverage across most of our media.
In truth, it’s a magazine on the box using a mixture of celebrities and
studio audiences to deliver interesting programming around a topic which
is rapidly growing in popularity.
Our health is, of course, important to us all, but I’m not sure that
eight hours a day, seven days a week is not over-doing it a bit.
After all, we can read about health in virtually all magazines and
newspapers as well as watch 20 minutes every morning over breakfast. The
real breakthrough would be in the self-medication angle and perhaps more
factual programming as opposed to lifestyle-type chat.
Its appeal, therefore, will be very niche and the magazine-style
approach to programming will mean that it is very much a dip-in, dip-out
experience - much the same as many other digital channels recently
Signposting these new channels is key and perhaps it should be
categorised as a specialist channel - as opposed to general
entertainment - to make it easier to find.
In addition, of course, it will need some marketing behind it so that
people know to look out for it and what to expect.
Broadcaster Sky Digital
Frequency Eight hours a day, seven days a week
Viewership Aiming at similar audience to UK Living’s 66,000 viewers
Subscription price Part of Sky Digital package
Advertising rates Rate-card costs to be confirmed.