Written by Media, Radio, TV

Dave’s Success

As the sale of Virgin Radio nears completion, thoughts turn to the rebranding exercise to be carried out by Albion.
One of the most obvious, and spectacularly successful media rebrands of recent years was that of UK TV G2 into Dave which took place back in October 2007.
I wrote a piece on Dave’s success back in December last year, where I thought it was particularly important to note that a major part of the new brands success, in my view came from it becoming available on Freeview. Adding close to 10 million new homes into the mix is always going to help. And with strong programming like Top Gear and QI repeats, that has helped it leap into the position it now finds itself.
Compare and contrast with Virgin1, another new channel launch from last year (launching 1st October 2007) which has also benefitted from being available on Freeview replacing the previous channel ftn.

Source: BARB
Note that I’ve not included their sister “+1” channels for which I don’t have full data, and which don’t broadcast on Freeview in any case. Also note that these share figures do include cable and satellite viewing and aren’t solely Freeview, although I truly believe that Freeview availability is core to their success.
Although Dave’s initial lustre is beginning to tarnish a little, it’s still significantly stronger than it was at the start. It’s no surpise that UK TV Gold is next to be relaunched with Richard & Judy signed up for a nightly 8pm show. Finding a Freeview slot will be critical though, as currently UK TV Gold is subscription only on Freeview boxes with programming available only through Top Up TV (there’s not really a fully available channel space for it).
Virgin1 which launched a couple of weeks before Dave has benefitted from US acquisitions like Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (how they must hate the US writers for going on strike and only producing nine episodes) and The Riches. They’ve also taken Star Trek programming away from Sky One. But their lack of UK programming is perhaps a factor is their relative performance compared with Dave. That said, there appears to be some growth there, and they’ve just gone widescreen which I think is vital for all significant non-terrestrial channels to use. Sci-Fi, I’m looking at you as possibly the most significant non-widescreen channel currently broadcasting, but Eurosport could do with it too – especially since they’re in the process of going HD too.
But I digress. The key thing for both these channels’ successes is not just strong branding and impactful advertising, but good programming. And home grown seems to trump a few acquisitions, albeit good ones.
And, no, Virgin Radio’s not going to be renamed “Radio Dave.”