UK Living, the cable and satellite channel for women, has acquired the Liverpool soap opera Brookside. The exclusive deal enables the broadcaster to show the soap three nights a week starting with the first episode broadcast 12 years ago.
Brookside will go out twice a day at 6.30pm and 11pm on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, with an omnibus on Sundays at 7.30pm. The early evening slot is expected to give a significant boost to audiences, according to director of programming Lis Howell.
UK Living doubled its ratings between January and December 1994 and now attracts just under one per cent of viewing in satellite homes – the same as VH-1 and twice that of The Family Channel.
"We have enjoyed steadier growth than other channels," she says. "We desperately needed one good British soap – something regional, feisty and with strong women."
The satellite broadcaster plans to spend 500,000 on a high profile marketing and cross-promotion campaigns, according to UK Living marketing director Andrew Keyte. This will include satellite TV, 48-sheet poster and press advertising.
"We have a good track record in reinvigorating interest in old favourites, such as The Sweeney and Top of the Pops," he says. "We hope Brookside will be another reason to buy a dish."
Brookside launches on UK Living on February 13. UK Living has initially acquired the first three years of the series. It is the first time that Channel 4 will have sold its own original programming to a UK cable or satellite channel.
* Brookside makes its debut on UK Living two weeks after Channel 4 broadcasts a special run of the series each week night for one week only. Depending on its success, the five-day-a-week showing could become a permanent fixture.