Channel launches ain’t what they used to be… 

15 January 2004 tbs.pm/727

Slow start on FX opening night

Once upon a time a launch of a new TV channel was a major national event, but these days with numerous digital channels available even a so-called ‘major new entertainment channel’ can launch and hardly anyone pays attention except perhaps media journalists; a classic example of this being last Monday’s launch of FX, a new channel from Fox which had less than stunning audience figures on its debut.

Like (presumably) many other people I had briefly noticed billboard posters that mentioned the new channel but it didn’t exactly register consciously when the channel was launching; of course it doesn’t help that I only have access to digital terrestrial channels hence I didn’t exactly give the poster my full attention. So what hope did that same poster have at attracting the ‘average’ viewer to yet another new channel, even if it might be slightly ‘better’ than your ‘average’ channel?

I suspect that the real problem is that there are only a handful of channels on any platform that really deliver programmes that are worth watching, with the rest, well, to put it politely, are forgettable. Therefore each new channel launch is treated with greater levels of apathy from the Great British Public, though it is arguable that all UK channel launches (perhaps with the exception of ITV back in 1955) haven’t exactly been ‘must watch’ occasions for the majority; the launch of Channel 4 for example didn’t attract 15+ million viewers.

A Transdiffusion Presentation

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David Hastings Contact More by me