Carat on Media...

Experts from Carat in Edinburgh review the latest media data releases, divulge the key trends in media and offer insightful views using their own bespoke research.

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Has Big Brother survived the switch to C5?

Helen Watkins, Broadcast Account Executive

After gracing our screens for at least a decade, in summer 2010 C4 gave the Big Brother format its final farewell with a grand send off in the form of Ultimate Big Brother. Even as Brain Dowling was announced as the ‘Ultimate’ housemate there were rumblings that in fact this wasn’t the end. Fast forward 8 months and it was officially announced – Channel 5 would commission the show. The question was, how would it perform?

Opting to launch with a ‘Celebrity’ version of the show, an impressive 5.3 m viewers tuned in to see which so-called celebrities would be entering the house. This was a sizeable audience share of over 20%. Early indications suggested that C5 had surpassed the share of viewing achieved by C4’s last Celebrity effort and although this proved not to be the case if you include C4+1 from 2010, C5 fell short by the smallest of margins. (So small a margin that If you discount C4 +1, C5 did indeed “win”)

In the C4 vs. C5 Big Brother battle it’s a rather ironic a C4 reality star would end up winning a Channel 5 reality show?! 24 hours after Paddy had won and the celebrities had been kicked out, the non celebs moved in. C5’s “proper” Big Brother launch show attracted 2.6m viewers – great numbers for Channel 5 but surely they were expecting numbers to eclipse the celeb version?

After the success of Celebrity BB why did BB fail to attract the same level of viewing? CBB was heavily promoted on and off air. Channel 5 couldn’t afford for it to fail. Did C5 just expect to automatically inherit the audience from CBB? Was it too much too soon? Surely BB ‘overload’ is an urban myth?

Has BB survived the switch to C5? The short answer is a resounding yes. The CBB launch is Channel 5’s 4th highest rating programme of all time and although normal BB isn’t matching last year’s performance, it’s still early days, and does it really have to match C4 to be deemed a success? Let’s put this in perspective if BB attracts 2m a night Richard Desmond will be happy. What else in the C5 schedule can attract this size audience day in day out for 9 weeks. Apart from CSI that is…

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