Major changes for TV3 - C4 to go mainstream

By Hugh Sundae

Definitely part of the FOUR's future plans - C4's Shannon Ryan. Photo / Herald On Sunday
Definitely part of the FOUR's future plans - C4's Shannon Ryan. Photo / Herald On Sunday

Mediaworks has this morning announced major changes to both its TV3 and C4 television channels.

C4, which currently targets the 15-39 year-old audience, will refocus on the current TV3 key-demographic of 18-49. In turn TV3 will now target 25-54 - currently TV1's key demographic.

The days of TV1 and TV3 both using their own key demographics to claim wins from the same ratings will be over.

C4 will be re-branded as FOUR, in a statement Mediaworks said it would "become broader in its appeal, with programming which attracts a wider, and more mature audience."

Freeview-only music channel C42 would also receive a good going over.

"There will still be a music channel on Freeview, operated by MediaWorks TV", said Mediaworks spokesman Roger Beaumont. "The branding implications following today's announcement are still being worked through in relation to C42."

"It's very good news for viewers," according to Martin Gillman, partner at Mitchener Gillman Communications.

"There will be serious competition for TV1 and TV2, and competition spurs greater excellence."

C4 has been though a few relaunches in its time. It was set up in 1997 as a youth-orientated alternative to TV3, and in 2003 became music-orientated C4.

In 2008 focus was shifted again, with less attention on music videos, and more on traditional entertainment-based shows, similar to MTV.

Nicole Wood, publicity manager for TV3 said the company had nothing further to say at this stage, except that "current C4 hosts such as Shannon Ryan and Drew Neemia would definitely be part of FOUR's future plans."

Just when those plans will come into being is unclear, with the statement saying both "the FOUR change will be immediate" and "commencing in early 2011" in the same sentence.

The TV3 changes will happen "over time".

Jason Paris, the MediaWorks TV CEO, who earlier this year moved from a senior position at TVNZ, said "This is a decision about where the biggest audience opportunity exists."

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