C4 fails to attract viewers to new entertainment channel

E4, Channel 4’s digital entertainment channel, launched in a blaze of publicity last month, has failed to attract any viewers at all to a number of its programmes.

Figures from BARB (Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board) reveal that while in the first four days after its January 18 launch, E4 took an average 0.6 per cent share of viewing, overnight figures for Tuesday February 5 show four programmes took a zero share.

Three of these were listed by BARB as attracting no viewers, which means the shows were watched by up to a few dozen people.

Popworld, a daily round-up of pop news, attracted no viewers for its 4pm screening, although its 6pm edition got a 0.1 per cent share with 6,000 viewers. North Hollywood High at 5pm also got a zero viewing rating and attracted no viewers. Shipwrecked at 8pm earned a zero share of viewing, though it was watched by 3,000 people.

Generation E, a documentary strand aimed at “serious youth viewers” and screened at 11.30pm, joined the list of poorly performing programmes – nobody watched it on Tuesday night.

The figures are embarrassing for Channel 4, which has revealed plans to hive off its commercial ventures as a separate company.

One observer says: “It is early days, but Friends is the only programme on E4 capable of attracting more than 200,000 viewers. E4 has to overcome a dilemma – does it want to attract hip, young viewers, who are not very loyal, or those who are more mature?”

E4 was unable to comment as MW went to press.

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