Magazine article Marketing

Raymond Snoddy on Media: Sky One Is the Mother of Reinvention

Magazine article Marketing

Raymond Snoddy on Media: Sky One Is the Mother of Reinvention

Article excerpt

When PHD recently carried out some research on how our main TV channels were perceived by the audience, some results were predictable - others surprising. BBC Two was seen as staid, masculine, old and lacking a sense of fun. Channel 4 was the most positively received by viewers, who believe that it broadcasts content no other channel can. As for BBC One, while the heritage is appreciated, it should return to its broadcasting roots. And ITV1? Not intellectually challenging and should be capable of a lot more.

But ask about Sky One and the response is close to mind-bending. The channel is seen as having a 'clear identity' and is perceived as being eclectic and broadly appealing. People recognise its different strands, such as sci-fi, feel warmth toward it and believe it is 'a good fun station to have around'. Can these people really be talking about the channel of Ibiza Uncovered of immortal memory, or the much more recently broadcast Celebrity Mingers, Chavs and OAPS on ASBOs?

Is this not also the channel that has changed its identity with every change of chief executive at BSkyB over the years? And hasn't it lurched from being a cheap-and-cheerful platform for US imports through to supporting original British production and back again when that didn't work, unsure of who the opposition was meant to be?

With all that meddling, it is hardly surprising that the one constant over the past three years has been audience decline.

In 2002, Sky One wasn't far off a share of 4% in multichannel homes.

According to BARB figures, the most recent July-to-July average was 2.13%.

With numbers like those, it is a wonder that James Baker remains channel controller, particularly as BSkyB chairman Rupert Murdoch has expressed disappointment at how some Sky One shows have performed. Murdoch expressing disappointment publicly is tantamount to a final warning: buck up - and quick - or there will be blood on the carpet.

Yet at last weekend's MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival, Baker gave a good account of himself and what he was trying to do with the channel.

Its share was down largely because of the rapid expansion of Freeview, which does not carry Sky One, and is never likely to.

Ibiza Uncovered is long gone and the days of Celebrity Mingers are clearly numbered. …

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