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Lighting to illuminate p’gramming

'C.S.I.,' 'Boomtown' help Five's market share hit 6.5%

LONDON — Jane Lighting, the new boss of Five, has pledged to hike the U.K. commercial web’s program budget next year and spend it in primetime.

The channel has a current budget of £160 million ($259 million), the smallest of any of its terrestrial rivals and satcaster BSkyB. But Lighting would not reveal the increase as she is still in talks with shareholders RTL and United Business Media.

Web has a significant market share of 6.5% but analysts believe it cannot raise its share without more investment, a move that neither shareholder has been keen to make.

U.S. series “CSI” and “Boomtown” and Australian soap “Home and Away” have helped deliver ratings, but the channel has had little success with original drama and entertainment.

Five is hoping that hidden camera show “Swag” made by Guy Ritchie’s production company will prove more successful. It is also investing more money in homegrown soap “Family Affairs.”

“We need to make sure that what we do is really good. But I don’t think that we have to be in there, and making a splash when we do,” said Lighting.