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Wanted: What the UK Digital Channels Want


Photo by rightee (CC BY 2.0)

At the Intelligent Factual Festival last week a number of commissioning execs outlined their channel brands and where they’ve still got gaps.


Aimed at ABC1s aged 35+

Recently broadened its remit from repeating crime dramas from ITV1 – now doing themed weekends and stunts, focused on crime.

Martina Coles’ Lady Killers – crime author Martina Cole looks at female serial killers.

Matthew Kelly’s Forensic Casebook – exploring the early days of forensics.

Also commissioned a property series “we will show you people how are living a 1903s dream, and we will show you various properties you can buy for that”, said Emma Tennant.


Not commissioning for 2010 but are looking for programmes for 2011


Male skewing aimed at men aged 24+, slightly more ABC1

Channel does a lot of premium sport, so likes programmes that complement that, to keep the male sports audience engaged – visceral fact ent.

Channel faces include Vinnie Jones and Andy McNab


Looking to commission for 10pm – and  “soften the edges a bit, make it slightly more joint viewing in the 10 o’clock slot.”

Discovery Networks UK

60/40 male-skewed with media age of 35, aspiring to get ABC1s

Adventure and survival programmes very important

Machines also do well

Successful shows include: MythBusters, How’s Stuff Made and How do They Do It? and Rampage!

Mark Williams and Robert Llewellyn are distinctive faces and the personality at the front of a show is becoming more important.


Distinctive personalities who can be the face of the channel – recognisable faces.

Clever use of user generated content and archive – Dan Korn cited the example of Cheri Sundae’s Rampage! and showed a clip of Seoul in 1988 where a group of dissident Buddhist monks had barricaded themselves into their temple and were waging a pitched battle with police.

See also: What the UK Specialist Factual Commissioners Want and What the UK Factual Entertainment Commissioners Want


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