Upmarket men flock to C4 cricket

The number of upmarket men watching Channel 4 during the first four days of its England cricket coverage soared by more than 300 per cent compared with the previous week’s viewing, despite the home side’s dismal performance.

According to figures obtained by Marketing Week, the station attracted an average audience of 350,000 ABC1 men across Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, compared with about 100,000 for the same four days the week before.

Channel 4 was showing England’s second test against New Zealand, after the first test was screened by BSkyB. The terrestrial TV coverage attracted an average adult audience of 1.1 million, compared with about 775,000 viewers for the same period in the preceding week.

However, the station’s commitment to showing horse racing on Saturday afternoon prompted a dramatic fall in the number of viewers between 2.55pm and 4pm, when the ABC1 male audience of about 500,000 dropped to nearer 100,000.

Channel 4 has a four-year deal for the rights to broadcast cricket live, snatched from the BBC. The aim is to add excitement and dynamism to the coverage, to attract younger viewers.

MediaVest TV board director David Jowett says: “[The cricket coverage] has done really well for Channel 4.”

Channel 4 marketing manager for sport and factual programming Bill Griffin says: “Given that it was a fairly dismal test {because England lost to New Zealand}, our coverage was lively and upbeat. We are trying to blend insight and professionalism with a more light-hearted and contemporary attitude.”

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