C4 backs schedule with £1m customer magazine

LONDON - Channel 4 is ploughing £1m into a 64-page glossy magazine with 3m distribution to promote the alternative nature of its Christmas schedule, billed as an antidote to the traditional fare on BBC and ITV.

The initiative was unveiled in the week that Channel 4 outlined a vision of its future to Ofcom, which will see a return to a strong public-service remit. It is seeking £100m of additional funding.

To emphasise its case, much of its Christmas schedule will be devoted to public- service programming, including a documentary that will investigate claims made about Jesus by author Dan Brown in his novel The Da Vinci Code, which contradicts Christian teachings.

Lightening the schedule, Christmas also sees the debut of US import Desperate Housewives, a second series of Shameless, and Unseen Eric Morecambe, which will rummage through the secrets of the comedian's study, left untouched since his death 20 years ago.

The magazine will be produced by Emap East and is its first customer publishing account win. It will be distributed for two weeks from 1 December inside national newspapers and glossy magazines, at railway stations and through retailers including HMV and Top Shop.

Advertisers will be reached through copies banded to trade magazines including Marketing.

Channel 4 head of marketing Bill Griffin said the alternative nature of the schedule meant it would not get as much coverage as ITV and the BBC in newspapers and TV listings magazines.

He added: 'While the BBC is airing the Harry Potter movie and repeats of Only Fools And Horses, we wanted to communicate the distinct nature of our brand and the diversity of our programming, and a magazine is the only way to do that.'

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