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SBD Global/February 3, 2014/Media

Channel 4 Racing Defends Record As 2013 Figures Show Audience Slump

Channel 4 Racing's "struggle for popularity is revealed in figures now available," showing its '13 audience was down on the previous year for 73 of the 90 days on which it now broadcasts, according to Chris Cook of the London GUARDIAN. The news "illustrates the continuing difficulties faced by the programme since the production contract was handed to IMG at the start of last year," but Channel 4 "defended its record and claimed 42% of the British population had watched its output at some point." Racing insiders "have been disturbed to note that Channel 4 has generally been unable to sustain its own audience on racedays it has covered for years." On just 15 days was there a "clear improvement in average audience size" in '13 compared to '12 and in five of those cases, the '12 figure "had been depressed by competition with the Olympics." A "roundly critical view" of Channel 4 Racing's situation "was offered by Andrew Franklin, who, through Highflyer, produced the programme for 28 years until IMG won the contract at the end of 2011." He said the broadcaster had won exclusive rights to the sport by promising "to widen and grow the audience by way of innovation." And by ''audience'' they were "referring to the existing one, not some spurious five-year average to which they have subsequently alluded" (GUARDIAN, 1/31).
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