'This is FilmFour – not some cheesy pseudo-Hollywood thing!' : the opening night simulcast of FilmFour on Channel 4
Andrews, Hannah, Ph.D.. (2012) 'This is FilmFour – not some cheesy pseudo-Hollywood thing!' : the opening night simulcast of FilmFour on Channel 4. Journal of British Cinema and Television, Vol.9 (No.4). pp. 569-587. ISSN 1743-4521
WRAP_Andrews_jbctv%2E2012%2E0106.pdf - Published Version
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/jbctv.2012.0106
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.
|Item Type:||Journal Article|
|Subjects:||P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting|
|Divisions:||Faculty of Arts > Film and Television Studies|
|Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH):||FilmFour (Firm) -- History, Television broadcasting of films -- Great Britain, Digital television -- Great Britain|
|Journal or Publication Title:||Journal of British Cinema and Television|
|Publisher:||Edinburgh University Press|
|Page Range:||pp. 569-587|
|Access rights to Published version:||Restricted or Subscription Access|
|References:||Banet-Weiser, S., Chris, C. and Freitas, A. (eds) (2007), Cable Visions: Television Beyond Broadcasting, New York: New York University Press. Born, G. (2003), ‘Strategy, positioning and projection in digital television: Channel Four and the commercialization of public service broadcasting in the UK’, Media, Culture and Society, 25: 6, pp. 773–99. Brown, M. (2007), A Licence to be Different: The Story of Channel 4, London: BFI/Palgrave. Hobson, D. (2008), Channel 4: The Early Years and the Jeremy Isaacs Legacy, London: I. B. Tauris. Johnson, C. (2007), ‘Tele-branding in TVIII: the network as brand and the programme as brand’, New Review of Film and Television, 5: 1, pp. 5–24. Lotz, A. D. (2007), ‘If it’s not TV, what is it ? The case of U.S. subscription television’, in S. Banet-Weiser, C. Chris and A. Freitas (eds), Cable Visions: Television Beyond Broadcasting, New York: New York University Press, pp. 85–102. Middleton, C. (1998), ‘Filmspotting’, Radio Times, 31 October–6 November, p. 57.|
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