'This is FilmFour - not some cheesy pseudo-Hollywood thing!': The Opening Night Simulcast of FilmFour on Channel 4

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2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Channel 4’s tradition of supporting, promoting and contributing to British cinema culture entered a new phase in 1998. Its film-making operations were consolidated into a single, semi-vertically integrated studio called FilmFour. On 1 November it launched a brand-new pay-TV channel of the same name. This channel programmed a variety of cinema, premiering world cinema films, FilmFour’s own productions and independent films. It was the first digital channel in Britain affiliated to a public service broadcaster. The new channel was introduced on its opening night with a simultaneous broadcast with terrestrial Channel 4. Scheduled on this evening was a representative selection of films and programmes to entice viewers to take up the new channel,
including the UK television premiere of The Usual Suspects (1995). This article presents a detailed textual analysis of this opening night simulcast. It examines how the new channel was presented to the audience, focusing particularly on interstitial material: the introductory programme, interviews with well-known faces from the British film industry, and additional material broadcast between
the films. Evaluating the evening’s output, the paper argues that the opening night simulcast represented both a marketing tool for the new channel and a means of extending the Channel 4 corporation’s brand. This article offers a case study in how a public service broadcaster began to negotiate for itself a space in the new digital broadcasting environment by targeting a specific, discriminating audience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)569-587
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of British Cinema and Television
Volume9
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2012

Keywords

  • film and television industries

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