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Channel 5

Channel 5

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Channel 5

The Early Years

By Christine Fanthome

Publication date: 2003
Total pages: 228
ISBN: 1 86020 595 X
Price: £ 20.00


This book traces the emergence of Britain's fifth and last terrestrial television channel together with the changing broadcasting environment within which it has evolved. Drawing on a series of interviews with key TV personnel including Dawn Airey, Greg Dyke, David Elstein, John Hambley, Kevin Lygo and Nick Milligan, it presents an historical analysis of Channel 5 from conception to the end of the fifth year of transmission, covering the licence application process, retuning, marketing strategies, the response to Channel 5 and a financial analysis of the business.


Channel 5, launched in 1997, was the first terrestrial to begin transmissions in the new era of multi-channelled television. Competition from satellite and cable was already having a significant impact in terms of fragmenting the mass audience, and digital television was on the horizon. With noticeably declining ratings for BBC 1 and ITV, Britain's system of regulated public service television was thought by some to be no longer viable. Yet Channel 5 was launched as an analogue commercial operation with public service obligations. This book reveals the lessons learnt by Five in attempting to combine these two imperatives. In so doing it highlights the growing need to identify and negotiate a commercially viable path between mass and niche markets, and exposes and explains the necessary expansion in branding and marketing within the current broadcasting environment.


Christine Fanthome began her career at Thames Television plc where she worked in a variety of positions including Senior Researcher, Associate Producer, Reporter, and Continuity Scriptwriter. After taking an MA and PhD in Media and Communication at London University, she now works as a Media Consultant.

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