Sky’s free to air entertainment channels have been on a bit of a roll in the past couple of years. Game show channel Challenge had an incredible 2017, celebrating its biggest year in its 21 year history, and general entertainment channel Pick also did well, logging its second year of growth which meant it was one of the largest Freeview channels to increase audience.
So what did we do differently?
In 2016 we sat down and hatched a plan to grow the channels. We felt we could achieve this by having a more single minded focus on our core audience. This is included two key elements:
On Challenge this meant becoming the undeniable ‘Home of Game Shows’. Our ambition was to be famous for game shows by landing our content pillars:
1 – Most Loved Game Shows
2 – Modern Game Shows
3 – Physical Game Shows
On Pick, we set ourselves the goal of being the best in Freeview for:
1 – Big US Drama
2 – Unmissable Real Life
3 – Shocking True Crime
The changes have had a big impact and helped us to achieve a record year. On Challenge we saw all dayparts grow, and witnessed an especially strong performance from peak time programmes The Chase, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and Bullseye. We also saw session length grow by 19% and average number of sessions increase by 24%.
On Pick we made gains in mornings and late night. This was driven by careful scheduling and also the addition of some big US scripted titles such as Without a Trace. We also saw some good volumes from our acquisitions of Warehouse 13 and crime series Britain’s Most Evil Killers.
It’s been really rewarding to see such great results of the new strategic focus. A few simple, intuitive changes have had a big impact in a relatively short time and it goes to show that keeping it simple is often a good way to go. We’re pleased with the progress… but this is just the start of a new phase; viewers and telly never stay still and we are already working on the next stage of the plan.
Thanks for reading and please give your contact at Sky Media a shout if you want more information on Pick and Challenge…
Stephen Ladlow, Director of Challenge, Pick and Real Lives
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