Digital outlets boost Five

Arrivals give broadcaster hike in multichannel homes

They’ve been a long time coming, but early indications are that Five’s new digital weblets, Five U.S. and Five Life, which bowed Monday and Sunday, respectively, may pay dividends for the broadcaster.

The arrival of Five U.S. Monday night helped give Five a hike of nearly 20% in U.K. multichannel homes on the first full day both newcomers were on air.

On Monday Five’s total multichannel share was 5.2%, vs. 4.4% for the previous three months, when the broadcaster only had its main channel to tempt auds.

Five U.S., whose fare includes “CSI” (the backbone of Five’s schedule), Stephen King skein “Nightmares and Dreamscapes” and legal saga “Conviction,” achieved a 0.5% share of multichannel viewing, slightly ahead of Five Life, a lifestyle channel aimed at young women, which launched with a 0.4% share.

By themselves, these are minute audiences, but when aggregated with the main channel’s figures they begin to add up and provide a much-needed boost for Five, which has seen ratings slide this year.

Five, owned by pan-European TV giant RTL, is the last of Blighty’s main terrestrial networks to launch a digital portfolio to compete with the BBC, ITV and Channel 4, all of which have a formidable array of spinoff webs.

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