Tonight, The Hits TV channel bites the dust and regenerates, Doctor Who style, into the Channel 4 branded 4Music. It’s the culmination of a deal last year where EMAP (now Bauer) sold a half share in its music TV channels (The Box, The Hits, Magic TV, Kiss TV, QTV and Kerrang TV) to Channel 4.
The Hits was a great property partly because of its distribution, it’s one of only two music channels on the Freeview platform. However, music TV, like radio, has found its lunch being somewhat eaten by online and mobile, who can deliver more targeted videos to users. This has therefore seen music channels (MTV, TMF etc) morph into music entertainment channels.
It also makes sense for the Hits to re-emerge with a stronger brand – Channel 4 – with all the access to their music programming and festival coverage. I imagine it’s also a boon for Channel 4 Sales as their music programmes – JD Set, Nokia Green Room, Transmission with T Mobile – (all ad supported from the start) – can now have lots and lots and lots of impact-generating repeat airings on 4Music.
There’s also going to be an interesting knock-on to a radio station as well – the one called The Hits.
The Hits is the most successful digital radio station in the UK. It’s on DAB in London and on digital TV and online around the UK. It’s a good CHR station and carries some of Bauer’s networked programmes, like the excellent In Demand.
There is a concern in some quarters, however, that The Hits Radio does disproportionately well in RAJAR because of some mis-attribution of listening to consumption of the TV channel. The re-brand of The Hits TV to 4Music is therefore going to be an interesting test to see how it’s going to affect The Hits Radio’s audience and certainly one for radio broadcasters and advertisers to keenly watch!
The other thing that’s intersting to watch is how this launch fits in with Channel 4 Radio’s strategy. Are we likely to see 4Music Radio perhaps being the Pure 4 channel that they proposed for their digital multiplex line-up?