Channel bets on new name

MediaWorks rebrands station a third time

SINGAPORE — What’s in a name? SPH MediaWorks hopes a change of name will bring success to its fledgling English-lingo TV channel.

On March 3 it rebranded TV Works as Channel i, alongside its Mandarin Chinese counterpart Channel U. The local free-to-air channel has hit a steep learning curve since its May 2001 launch, undergoing three revamps in as many months, an intense strategy rethink and now the rebranding.

Despite vowing to avoid skeds dominated by imported U.S. fare and movies, Channel i now declares “Everyday is movie day” with a lineup that includes “Notting Hill” and “I Still Know What You Did Last Summer.”

It also has boosted its soccer coverage to include games from Italy and the U.K. after luring auds with Blighty team Manchester United’s matches in Asia.

Execs hope these changes will improve the dire aud figures. Average ratings issued by the Singapore Broadcasting Authority show the channel held a mere 2.4% market share for fourth-quarter 2001, with rival MediaCorp TV’s Channel 5 achieving 12.9%. Both trail MediaCorp TV’s 42.8% market share, followed by Channel U at 19.8%.

“We are all very excited about the launch of Channel i,” says SPH MediaWorks CEO Lee Cheok Yew. “This is TV evolution in its truest sense. I believe we have gained a better knowledge of what the audience and market wants through successful programming moves such the telecast of the first MTV Asia Awards.”

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