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Thursday, 3 October, 2002, 07:35 GMT 08:35 UK
Five targets Channel 4
Noddy
Noddy is making short work of Rise
Five has said it is pulling out all the stops in an effort to overhaul Channel 4 as the main rival to ITV.

Last week was a successful one for the newly-renamed network, culminating in Sunday's success for the heavily-trailed Michael Jackson's Face.

The show generated an audience of 3.6 million, more than four times the number the number who tuned in to Channel 4's documentary College Girls about Oxford students.

Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson's Face was a hit
Channel 4's troubled breakfast show Rise is now being easily overhauled by Five's revamped Noddy cartoon Make Way For Noddy.

After coming very close to overtaking Channel 4's audience share last week, Five wants to make permanent gains.

Channel 4's share in the year to date is 10.1%, no change from last year, but Five's has risen from 5.7% a year ago to 6.3% now.

Overtaking its publicly-owned commercial rival would mean big increases in advertising revenue, with majority shareholder RTL Group reaping the benefits.

Reputation dispelled

Chief executive Didier Bellens told the Times: "Our next goal is to reach the number two spot in the UK's commercial market.

"It is a tough challenge, especially when one looks at the programming budgets of ITV and Channel 4 but we like tough challenges."

The channel is shedding its reputation as merely the home of obscure football and erotic films, with bought in shows like Law and Order, Crime Scene Investigation and The Shield, as well as arts programming winning plaudits.

A Channel 4 spokesman told BBC News Online: "We had a particularly bad week, but it is a blip.

"Over the course of the year we are still four per cent higher than Five and we are confident we will remain that way.

"Five are plateau-ing out. They have grown from a lower base level."

See also:

01 Oct 02 | Entertainment
29 Sep 02 | Entertainment
25 Sep 02 | Entertainment
19 Sep 02 | Entertainment
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