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TV Chart History

Something that I have noticed throughout the years of the introduction of new channels is how they are acted upon by potential viewers. What I mean from this is when (for example) Channel 5 started, they got 3.98m people watching their first programme. My evidence will show how the introduction of new national channels could be affected by history.

1936 - BBC Television started the televisual revolution, the reason why we are creating these web-sites!

1955 - ITV started with Associated-Rediffusion & Associated Broadcasting Company (ABC, later ATV) to offer a commercial alternative.

As we see just before the introduction of BBC2, these two channels are virtually equal in viewer charts. Even today, the two top programmes (Eastenders and Coronation Street) are still fighting it out for the top spot.

1964 - BBC2 brought about a new revolution in colour television - Today BBC2's top figures are about 6m

1982 - Channel 4 brought a new alternative to the minority market - Today C4's top figures are about 6m, fairly equal to BBC2.

From this part of the timeline - television was about to enter a new age, something never thought off in the history of UK television . . . multi-channel television

1989 - Sky Television started the revolution by doubling the number of available channels - Today Sky has about 5m people watching satellite transmissions in total.

1997 - Channel 5 was the last national analogue channel to start - Today C5 top figures are about 3m.

BBC1 (1936) 20 million (regular top)
ITV (1955) 20 million (regular top)
BBC2 (1964) 6 million (regular top)
Channel 4 (1982) 6 million (regular top)
BSkyB (1989) 5 million (total satellite dishes in use today)
Channel 5 (1997) 3 million (regular top - pending football matches which gets 4 million)
The future . . . (1998) Who knows but may well be smaller for individual channels

Now the digital revolution is taking shape sparking the way for even more channels. The measure of success of the new digital channels will come down to the way they are marketed, although history shows that the individual channels will have smaller and smaller viewer figures. It is bizarre how the introduction of a new channel can affect a smaller and smaller audience every time, but is it just because of brand loyalty or does choice mean less viewing figures? Maybe one day they will have a 24-hour ident channel!


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