MEDIA: CHANNEL HEALTH: AN EXPERT’S VIEW - Channel Health has more on lifestyle than practical health tips, Jane Ratcliffe discovers

Introducing Channel Health. Prescribed for your entertainment on Sky Digital and occupying channel number 193, a new channel appeared on our screens last week.

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

launched.



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.



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