Jane Lighting on Broadcasting

High-Fives at HQ as 'Joey' proves a hit with viewers

It was trebles all round at Five's Covent Garden offices last week, when overnight figures revealed that the first episode of
Joey, the
Friends spin-off series, had attracted more than four million viewers. In terms of the channel and its progress, this was a fantastic result and represented our best ever ratings figure for a programme outside of films and football.

It was trebles all round at Five's Covent Garden offices last week, when overnight figures revealed that the first episode of Joey, the Friends spin-off series, had attracted more than four million viewers. In terms of the channel and its progress, this was a fantastic result and represented our best ever ratings figure for a programme outside of films and football.

We were keen to preserve the exclusivity of Joey and had not sold on the UK multi-channel rights, meaning that, for once, the digitally enfranchised had not got the first look at a hot new American show ahead of terrestrial-only refuseniks. But if any Friends fanatics in the UK had really wanted to see Joey before its premiere on Five, they could have. All they needed was a computer - and patience. Lots and lots of patience.

Within an hour of the first show being transmitted in the US, and four months before its UK debut, it had been illegally downloaded onto websites and was just a mouse-click away. Research by Five's IT department reveals that more than a dozen shows currently on the channel, many of them American, can be found on the internet.

The fact that the series was available in this way yet our ratings didn't suffer is partly because the speed of download from websites is positively glacial. But the increase in availability of broadband and the evolution of the living room television set into a "multimedia centre" will mean downloading TV shows from the internet will become as quick and easy as sending an e-mail. Add this to the rise of Personal Video Recorders such as Sky+, and video-on-demand, and you can see why some soothsayers are predicting the demise of traditional "linear TV".

Meanwhile, the increasingly lucrative secondary rights market is beginning to resemble the Wild West, with mobile content providers, terrestrial TV channels, video-on-demand companies, websites, pay-TV firms, DVD specialists and independent production houses all slugging it out, saloon bar-brawl style. The reason that there is potential for secondary rights to be such a money-spinner is because broadcasters, mainly the terrestrials and multi-channels who have real marketing clout, have created the demand to see the shows in the first place.

Much of Joey's success was due to the audience already established by Channel 4's heavy promotion of its predecessor, Friends, and the extensive, and costly, marketing and PR campaign Five undertook to launch the series. Also, by being on a terrestrial channel, Joey benefited from being a shared viewing experience, something everyone could watch at the same time, turning it into instant "water-cooler" TV.

When secondary rights holders screen these shows, whatever their medium, they reap the benefit of millions of pounds-worth of on- and off-air promotion, all at no cost to them. Is it hoping too much to expect them to make a contribution to broadcasters' marketing costs, or even co-fund the productions themselves? Perhaps it's a little premature to be worrying too much about all these increasingly high-tech ways of delivering television to the viewers. When you look at the new delivery systems, it's interesting to note that, alongside broadband, Freeview, the simplest of all the available propositions, has proved to be the most popular with viewers. It could be that the success of this platform, and not the Hutton Report, will be the real legacy of Greg Dyke, the usual incumbent of this column.

Reality election? It's got my vote

The Prime Minister spent last Wednesday on Five, appearing on four shows throughout the day. The culmination was a one-hour debate in which nine voters got to cross-examine him.

Being questioned by people who live the issues, such as the mother of a child with autism who grilled Mr Blair on special needs schools, seemed to have a huge impact on the Prime Minister. Credit must go to him for agreeing to be interrogated on live TV. The same applies to both Charles Kennedy and Michael Howard, who will face a similar trial on Five soon.

They seem to have recognised the need to engage with a jaded electorate. But if we are to reinvigorate the political process and motivate first-time voters, we may need to look to our most popular TV formats for ideas.

ITV has already road-tested the Pop Idol formula with Vote For Me. Now maybe it's time for the ultimate reality show. You'd be guaranteed the biggest turn-out of young voters in British political history if you put Blair, Howard and Kennedy in the Big Brother house and invited the public to vote them out one by one. Not only would the winner get the keys to No 10, they'd also get the ultimate prize of the modern age - a Heat front cover.

Greg Dyke is away

Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
The Pipes and Drums of The Scottish Regiments perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Commonwealth GamesThe actor encouraged the one billion viewers of the event to donate to the children's charity
Sport
Karen Dunbar performs
Entertainers showcase local wit, talent and irrepressible spirit
Sport
Members of the Scotland deleagtion walk past during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
News
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Web / Digital Analyst - SiteCatalyst or Google Analytics

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client who are a leading publisher in...

Data Scientist

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A data analytics are currently looking t...

Graduate Sales Executive

17.5k + Commission (£18.5k after probation period): ESI Media: You will be res...

PPC Account Managers

£25k - £30k (DOE): Guru Careers: Two expert PPC Account Managers are needed to...

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game