C5’s ‘Speed’ premiere thwarts ITV

Channel 5’s viewing figures topped ITV’s for the first time in peaktime, thanks to the attractions of Monday night’s action thriller Speed.

Movie stars Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock lured a maximum of 3.8 million viewers, equivalent to a 27 per cent share of the total viewing public, to tune in to the UK’s newest channel around the 10.15pm to 11pm period, according to unofficial BARB overnight estimates.

The film, which was screened between 9pm and 11.15pm, was watched by an average of 3.2 million viewers, or 16 per cent of the total viewing public, who opted for the movie blockbuster rather than ITV peaktime programmes Noah’s Ark, News at Ten and Nash Bridges.

David Brook, marketing and communications director at C5, says: “When the dust has settled, people will look back on C5 as one of the most successful media launches in the past decade.”

C5 launched five months ago and has been dogged by repeated criticism of its performance. The station recently received welcome praise at the Edinburgh International Television Festival by the managing director of global investment bank BZW, Anthony Fry.

He said: “[United News & Media’s] recent acquisition of the regional broadcaster HTV, valued the licence at 371m. Based on HTV’s audience share of just 2.6 per cent, [C5] is already worth 440m.”

He estimates the station could be worth close to 1bn by the year 2000 as its share of audience increases and its airtime discount narrows.

Media Analysis, page 16

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