The high-profile launch of digital channel Virgin 1 has been eclipsed by the success of Dave, rebranded from UKTV G2, according to Barb figures.
Media executives are questioning the rationale behind the launch of Virgin Media Television’s V1, saying that the young, male audience it hoped to attract on Freeview is better served by Dave.
In its first week, last week, Dave attracted 10.7m viewers, representing a 1.3% share of total multichannel viewing (2.2% in Freeview homes), and was the 10th most popular channel on Freeview – including the terrestrial stations. By contrast, V1, which enjoyed a strong opening night with The Riches, starring Eddie Izzard, pulled only 0.52% share of viewing in the week to October 8, its first on air, and 0.82% on Freeview, according to Barb figures.
Across the past two weeks V1 recorded a share of 0.41% across all multichannel and 0.57% in Freeview homes. It has slipped from the 28th most popular channel in its first week to 30th.
One media executive says viewing figures are disappointing. He says: “I’m not sure people should have got too excited about the Virgin moniker. Although people will try the channel more readily, they are potentially more readily disappointed. It just becomes ‘another’ channel.”
Another says it is “unfair” to compare its performance to the success of Dave, which airs well-known programmes such as Top Gear.