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Since its controversial launch in March 1997 Channel 5 has been the fifth wheal upsetting the balance of British terrestrial broadcasting With millions of videos to retune and a paltry programme budget few foresaw success but C5 was the only mainstream broadcaster to increase its audience share last year1 and at the beginning of this year it was valued at 12 billion The recent purchase of the rights to screen ITVs Australian soap opera Home and Away is a major coup the first time it has poached from a competitor its had to get used to the reverse The problems C5 have had in the past C5 executives are eager to overplay recent well publicised successes but the channel has been dogged by problems from the start some technically unavoidable and some disputably due to managerial misjudgement At the RTS convention in 1999 Greg Dyke chairing a session on branding challenged David Brook director of marketing during C5s launch that part of the problem with C5 was that it didnt live up to its launch Brook disagreed saying You must remember we had to launch a channel without any programmes and amongst all the confusion of retuning His defence cites two of the three main initial problems C5 faced 1 A budget 16 of the BBCs 2 The necessity to retune your TVVideo Also hindering performance was 3 The lack of reach still only 80 of BBC The million pounds spent on marketing and producing the glamorous opening was supposed to tackle the first 2 problems however critics say the reliance of style over substance faith in the power of persuasive com munication was short sighted Brooks successor Jim Hyther commented Guardian Nov 1st 99 Once the coffee jar is on the supermarket shelf you cant keep pretending to the customer its premium ground when its actually instant granules Typical schedule content see appendix 2 was ridiculed from the
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