+1 channels benefit from adjacent EPG slots

April 20, 2008 – 09:27 BST

The good positioning of a channel within the electronic programme guide can significantly improve viewing figures. A new study from the audience research company Attentional says that a primary channel can act as a kind of advertisement for the content of its time-shifted partner, providing they are next to each other on the EPG.

Attentional gives the example of UKTV Gold+1 (110 on the Sky EPG), which has a satellite audience 63% the size of UKTV Gold (109). On the other hand, ITV2+1 (184) has a satellite audience that is only 13% that of ITV2 (at number 118), a discrepancy that significantly exceeds any loss that can be solely attributed to its low EPG position.

The comments are all the more significant following Sky’s decision to allow broadcasters to trade their EPG slots. Recently Cellcast sold two of its EPG slots to Discovery Channel for £1.4 million and a new position lower down the guide.

The Attentional model makes it possible to predict the viewership of channels. When Bravo 2 moved down 28 places on the guide its audience dropped by 35%. The same February 2008 reshuffle saw Virgin 1 climb 29 places and achieve a 52% increase, though Attenional acknowledges this was accompanied by the debut of sci-fi series The Sarah Connor Chronicles.