“There are 15 million people watching music television every week in the UK,” Schoonmaker explains. “A lot of that music is not available at Woolworths – it’s downloaded from the internet or released on video first Sales do not reflect its popularity. Our audiences hear tracks weeks before they appear in conventional charts.”So charts may change, but Emap thinks they still matter Commercial radio networks agree. Last week, Capital, GWR, Scottish Radio Holdings and Chrysalis signed a deal to commission the successor to the Pepsi Chart Show. Unique, the production wing of UBC Media, will make it and it will be supplied to 94 independent radio stations.
The programme will launch in January, in head-to-head competition with the BBC’s Top 40 countdown, the radio version of the chart that Cowey calls dysfunctional.There is still life in lists. More obviously, there is very definitely life in music television. Since Emap and MTV have made their subscription channels available on Sky Digital, the total share of music watching on that service has risen from 1.7 per cent to 3 per cent A similar pattern has emerged on cable networks. That’s why MTV was not prepared to let Emap steal an advantage in the free-to-air market by making The Hits the only music channel on Freeview. On 3 October, just as the press conference announcing Emap’s inclusion in the new service was winding up, MTV text messaged Freeview with confirmation that it, too, will supply a channel to the new service. The Music Factory, based on a format that’s been successful in Holland and Belgium, will run in competition to The Hits.Michiel Bakker, managing director of MTV Europe, explained: “Building on our unrivalled access to artists, our unique archive of live performance footage…
The Music Factory UK will be MTV Europe’s first offering targeted at the entire family.”Schoonmaker is sceptical: “MTV will do housewife music in the morning when the kids are at school, pop at 3.30pm when they get home, and rock for the older audience in the evening. It thinks it is part of the global rock business, but it has a very traditional view of music television We think music TV is like radio The Hits is based on our Big City radio stations We are thinking of the guy on a couch in Manchester. This is not appointment-to-view stuff.”Perhaps not, but Schoonmaker and Bakker both know it has the potential to become immensely popular. Freeview provides target audiences with the first chance to get non-stop music on television for nothing more than the cost of a digital decoder. Record companies will be keen to reach this new market, and Emap’s chart show will give their week a focus. Nostalgics may moan about the death of a single, dominant programme, but that has been happening for decades.
The modern equivalent of that “stockmarket for your hi-fi” may be just around the corner on digital terrestrial television. The element of democratisation provided by interactivity has the potential to make the Top 40 look tired.. Granada wants to double its stake in the Republic of Ireland’s first private sector broadcaster as it seeks to further expand its television empire following last week’s announcement of its Â£2.5bn merger with Carlton. Four ITV franchises – Grampian, Scottish, Ulster and Channel – fall outside the Carlton-Granada deal.Granada already owns 45 per cent of TV3 in Ireland but is keen to buy out the 45 per cent stake controlled by CanWest Global Communications, the Canadian media group that has Â£1.7bn of debts.