Think children’s TV, think Cartoon Network. With daily animated fare
ranging from The Flintstones to Cow & Chicken, Cartoon Network takes an
8 per cent share of total children’s TV viewing in UK multi-channel
Cartoon Network is owned by Turner Broadcasting, which is part of the
international media giant, Time Warner. It is available in the UK via
cable and satellite, where it can attract as many viewers as BSkyB’s
popular sports and movie services.
Forty seven per cent of the channel’s audience is aged between four and
nine, 65 per cent is under 24 years old. Top-rating Cartoon Network
shows among four- to nine-year-olds are those airing between 5pm and 9pm
each day. These include Dexter’s Lab, Johnny Bravo and Animaniacs.
The highest rating Cartoon Network programmes can deliver between four
and seven TVRs among four- to nine-year-olds.
Last month (August) it launched an ad campaign targeting 16- to
34-year-olds to promote its early evening strand, AKA, which shows cult
and classic cartoons. The campaign included radio ads and branded flyers
promoting club nights supported by Kiss FM and Muzik magazine.
Channel 4 is not a youth channel. But its distinctive remit -
challenging and idiosyncratic - has an obvious appeal to the 16- to
24-year-old age bracket, especially after 10pm and, with its recently
re-branded post-midnight 4Later schedule, into the small hours of the
Twenty two per cent of the total Channel 4 audience is aged under
It also has a strong youth and late-teen to early-twentysomething
audience for its comedy shows and movies. Top Channel 4 programmes among
this age group deliver between seven and 13 TVRs.
Meanwhile, Channel 4’s output for children attracts 5 per cent of all
children’s TV viewing in multi-channel homes. Although it has some
strong programmes directly targeting younger viewers, younger children
also watch shows intended for an older Channel 4 audience.
Its top-rating programmes for children shown during the first half of
this year were Merlin, South Park, Friends, Geri, Spice Girls USA and
Dawson’s Creek. At breakfast time, The Big Breakfast takes one-third of
the available 16- to 24-year-old audience, compared with GMTV’s 24 per
Channel 5’s audience has a younger profile than ITV’s. The broadcaster
takes a 3 per cent share of all children’s viewing in UK multi-channel
Milkshake!, which goes out each weekday morning from 7.30am to 9am,
targets four- to nine-year-olds with cartoons. High proportions of
ten- to 15-year-olds view on Sundays at 5pm, when the channel schedules
movies with teen appeal, soaps and teen-friendly adventure drama, such
as Xena - Warrior Princess and Hercules.
Meanwhile, Channel 5’s 16- to 24-year-old viewers account for between 20
per cent and 30 per cent of its total audience for football, Sunset
Beach and the Pepsi Chart.
Disney Channel is heavily skewed towards a four- to nine-year-old
audience, with ratings for this age group peaking between 6pm and
8.30pm. The channel accounts for approximately 3 per cent of all
children’s TV viewing in UK multi-channel homes - and as it doesn’t
carry advertising, it appeals to many parents.
However, Disney Channel faces stiff competition from rival children’s
broadcasting specialists such as Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network. And
recently, the BBC said it wants to launch a children’s channel on
In an attempt to deepen its appeal in local markets, Disney Channel last
year began commissioning and producing live action children’s drama
locally - one such show was the the critically acclaimed Microsoap, also
shown on BBC1.
Top-performing material for four- to nine-year-olds on Disney Channel
includes Pocahontas, Toy Story, 101 Dalmations and other Disney cartoons
which deliver between one and three TVRs among this age group.
Fox Kids accounts for a 1 per cent share of children’s viewing - smaller
than its rivals, but tightly targeted to attract four- to 13-year-olds -
34 per cent of its audience is aged four to nine; 60 per cent is aged
four to 15.
Highest rating shows on Fox Kids include Goosebumps, Spiderman and Ace
Fox Kids, which was set up in Europe in 1997 as part of Fox Family
Worldwide - a joint venture between Saban Entertainment and Rupert
Murdoch’s Fox Broadcasting Company - has aggressive plans for expansion.
Last month it announced it is considering flotation in Europe to fund
Overall, ITV (including GMTV) takes a 20 per cent share of the total
children’s viewing in multi-channel homes - a figure which rises when
only the child-branded viewing period, CITV, is considered.
While ITV cannot compete on audience profile in terms of under-24s with
satellite channels (only 18 per cent of the total ITV audience is aged
24 or under), it does deliver higher numbers. ITV regularly achieves
between five and ten children’s TVRs with programmes such as Sabrina the
Teenage Witch and Finders Keepers during weekday CITV.
Weekend CITV-branded segments generate between five and eight TVRs.
Individual programmes in the rest of the ITV schedule - such as
Coronation Street and one-offs like The Brit Awards - can perform
especially well with 16- to 24-year-olds.
GMTV accounts for an estimated 25 per cent of breakfast-time viewing
among 16- to 24-year-olds, with an audience profile significantly older
than that of Channel 4’s The Big Breakfast. Over the weekend, however,
GMTV targets children. It accounts for 12 per cent of the breakfast-time
child audience in multi-channel homes.
Nineteen per cent of ITV2’s audience is aged 16 to 24, although overall
the channel’s profile is not particularly youthful. Top-performing
programmes among this age group, however, perform well and include
Videotech, The Mix, football coverage, Man o Man and NBA coverage.
The children’s strand, CITV, runs Saturday and Sunday lunch-times, with
a ’best of’ selection including CDUK, Paddington and Garfield.
The archetypal youth channel, MTV attracts only 2 per cent of the
children’s audience. However, 52 per cent of its audience is aged ten to
24. It has the best profile for 16- to 24-year-olds: 28 per cent of its
audience is aged 16 to 24 - a figure matched only by the specialist teen
Youth ratings are typically highest at weekends, between 7pm and
MTV has strengthened its viewing base in recent months after a strategic
review prompted a rethink of its previous pan-European positioning. The
channel has since increased its emphasis on local audiences and
locally-produced material that is more in tune with regional tastes.
MTV, which is owned by the US media giant, Viacom, is currently
available in 21.5 million homes across continental Europe and a further
7.7 million homes in the UK and Ireland.
Nickelodeon accounts for 6 per cent of all children’s TV viewing in UK
multi-channel homes, and 62 per cent of its audience is aged between
four and 15.
The channel, which was launched in the UK in September 1993 as a joint
venture between Viacom-owned MTV Networks and BSkyB, broadcasts 12 hours
a day, seven days a week in analogue and fifteen hours a day, seven days
a week in digital.
Highest children’s TV ratings are achieved between 5pm and 7pm, with
programmes such as Sister Sister, Moesha and Rugrats proving the most
popular during the first half of this year. It regularly delivers
between one and four children’s TVRs in ’peaktime’ - 5pm to 9pm.
This month Nickelodeon UK launched a sister service, Nick Jnr, on Sky
Nick Jnr is aimed at the younger segment of Nickelodeon’s overall
audience - children aged seven and under - and claims to be the first UK
channel to initiate an additional voluntary code to protect its young
audience from inappropriate advertising.
Nick Jnr was previously a branded programming strand within Nickelodeon
proper, running from early morning to 2.30pm. It will now air on
analogue from 6am to 10am.
Rapture launched in November 1997 and positions itself between MTV and
Trouble. Its core audience is aged between 16 and 20. Programming
includes targeted teenagers’ fare as well as out-put with more general
The channel - which is owned by its management, United News & Media and
Telewest - broadcasts between 10am and 6pm at weekends and is available
in three million UK homes via Telewest and NTL cable networks and Astra
Later this year Rapture plans to expand distribution with the addition
of digital broadcasting and further cable deals. From January 2000 it
will broadcast seven days a week.
Sky One takes a 5 per cent share of all children’s TV viewing in
multi-channel homes. Overall, 36 per cent of its total audience is aged
However, particular programmes can combine large relative audiences and
good conversions for this age group - programmes such as Friends, The
Simpsons, South Park and the X Files perform well.
The strongest part of the schedule for 16- to 24-year-olds is Friday to
Recently launched shows include Pokemon, which is based around the
best-selling Japanese toy range of the same name. The UK-produced teen
drama, Dream Team, has done particularly well.
The Box, which was launched in 1992, is a 24-hour interactive music
channel with back-to-back music videos. It is scheduled according to
viewer requests, which total more than 100,000 a week. Forty two per
cent of its audience is aged between ten and 24 years old.
The channel regularly reaches more than two million cable and satellite
viewers and it is seen in a further one million homes on digital, the
channel claims. It is the fourth most watched channel among 16- to
24-year-olds in cable homes and delivers an average TVR of 0.25.
Trouble takes 2 per cent of all children’s TV viewing in UK
multi-channel homes. Its core audience is ten- to 15-year-olds - who
account for 33 per cent of the channel’s viewers; 61 per cent of its
audience is aged ten to 24.
Widely seen as the authentic ’teen channel’, Trouble’s schedule includes
a mix of drama, music and teenage issue-based material. Top-performing
programmes are Saved for the Bell, Weird Science, Fresh Prince, Sweet
Valley High and one-off shows, such as Smash Hits Winners Poll.
Trouble was launched as a standalone channel in early 1998 by Flextech,
although it had previously appeared as branded programming strands on
the former children’s channel, TCC, and Bravo. It currently broadcasts
from 7am to 8pm on analogue and 6am to midnight on digital.
From this autumn it will air a new branded programming block - TNBC - as
part of a deal with the US broadcaster, NBC.
UK Play, a joint venture between Flextech and BBC TV, was launched last
October. It is aimed at 16- to 24-year-olds and airs 24 hours a day on
digital TV. The channel’s output is a mix of UK music and comedy re-runs
from the BBC library, with material such as Top of the Pops, Shooting
Stars and The Fast Show. Most of the material is repeats, although there
are original shows, such as Flatmates, a quiz show presented by Sara
Other material is re-packaged, such as the recent UK Play Presents, a
series of big name concerts which have included Robbie Williams, Pulp