Fox relaunches as V8, Starmaker boosting auds

AMSTERDAM – In what appears to be the latest stage in a channel identity crisis in Holland, SBS Broadcasting is relaunching the Fox 8 channel with the brand name V8 in early May.

SBS inked the deal for a 50% stake in Fox 8 holding company TV10 with News Corp. April 12. With it came the right to run the channel’s programming from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. Fox Kids will continue to run the daytime sked.

The news comes on the heels of HMG’s successful rebranding of Veronica as Yorin.

Thanks to a new multiplatform program called Starmaker, Yorin is pulling in aud shares of 11% in the 20- to 34-year-old target group and 12% in the even more desirable 13-19 group. Before the channel was rebranded, 13- to 19-year-olds brought in just 10% of the auds and 20-34 just 8%.

SBS’s acquisition gives it control over the entertainment skeds of three Dutch channels and puts it squarely up against two nets — Holland Media Group (HMG), owned by RTL Group, which has three channels, and the public broadcasting network, which also has three channels.

As all nine channels depend on commercial advertising, “it signals a new balance of power,” says Patrick Alders, a television and radio account executive for media placement group Universal Media.

HMG has dominated ad and aud share for years, but Alders predicts in the square-off, each net will end up with about a third.

SBS plans to relaunch Fox 8’s evening scheduling, whose performance over the last few years has been at best miserable. “The only program we’re bringing over to V8 will be ‘The Simpsons.’ Everything else will be new,” notes Edgar Hamer, a spokesman for SBS in Holland.

V8 will target male auds ages 15-30, luring them in with heavy action content such as “The Immortal,” “Dark Angel” and “Seven Days” as well as other fare such as “South Park.”

From an advertiser’s point of view, the channel balances out programming from SBS channel Net 5, which is weighted toward a female aud, and SBS6, which is aimed at viewers ages 20-49 and balanced 60/40 toward men.

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