‘Channel 5 is not cool’

Channel 5 has admitted its brand is not as “cool” as its contemporaries, adding that its aim is not to be first with new technologies but to focus on being fun.

BigBrotherPic

Speaking at the Media Guardian Edinburgh International TV Festival today (23 August), Jeff Ford, Channel 5’s director of programmes, said it is still behind Channel 4 when it comes to launching digital products such as second screen apps. Instead the focus is on bringing catch-up and video on demand in line with its rivals.

Ford added: “We are not cool, happening, [or like Channel 4] when you have to have your iPad and your phone; we’re not not trying to be hip happening daddio, we’re fun.”

Viewers and independent producers still do not understand the channel and have incorrect preconceptions about what Channel 5 is all about, Ford lamented.

Channel 5’s core values are to be “fun, passionate, honest and relevant”, which tends to appeal to a more “blue collar” audience, he explained.

The broadcaster claims it was the only channel family to grow its audience share in the past year, which is up 4 per cent.

It is still reaping the benefits of acquiring Big Brother in 2011, although Ford said viewing figures this year are still up 7 per cent this year if the programme is taken out of the equation.

Channel 5 also attracts large audiences for the broadcast of major sporting events such as cricket and boxing, which it is looking to expand its coverage of.

Ford said: “Boxing is something terrestrial TV just doesn’t do. Boxing looks at us to showcase talent as these days nobody knows boxing any more, there used to be Henry Cooper splashed all over [the media], so it’s really good for sports people to have exposure on 5.”

Channel 5 has lost its coverage of the Europa League from this season but Ford says it will look to “pick up football” again and is also set to broadcast a new “warts and all” docusoap “Being Liverpool”, which documents Liverpool Football Club since the departure of manager Kenny Dalglish.

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