Bikebiz.co.uk readers have been copying us with the replies sent by the viewer enquiry service of Channel 4. At the beginning of the week, Grant Allen, MD of Giant was the first to forward us this reply and we subsequently received many others. All of them were word-for-word the same.
The arguments dont really hold water but, here, make your own mind up:
We're sorry to have disappointed Tour De France viewers by placing some of the shows late night. In the main, this is because of the addition of a
large amount of Test and One Day Cricket to the schedule. Given that we are a general channel, we have to make sure the addition of many more hours devoted to sport does not impact too much on the overall balance of
programming genres during peak hours and that we do not alienate the
non-sports loving audience. Whilst the Tour De France has a loyal following
of almost one million viewers, many of our peak programmes achieve double that figure. We would therefore be disappointing many more viewers if we dropped the other programmes to accommodate the Tour.
This is also the reason why we have moved the weekday shows to 5.30pm. We have built up a large audience of young people for our 6-7pm slots and they too would be very upset if we dropped their favourite programmes.
In short, we have reached a compromise that will not please everyone, but
which we feel strikes the right balance within our schedule. Once again, we
are sorry to disappoint the Tour's loyal fans, but hope that the quality of
the coverage still meets with your approval.
However, check the schedules for the past ten days, there has been a lot of dross programmes put out in much better viewing slots than the Tour de France coverage.
It wouldnt be so bad if Channel 4 had picked a time and then stuck to it. One of the most annoying factors in this years scheduling is its randomness.
And the fact that extra programmes were slotted in for a couple of days after the prologue because of the success of David Millar, a Scot shows that Channel 4 schedulers got it wrong from the start.
Youll just get a standard reply but dont let that stop you registering your complaint if you havent already done so. Heres the email address.
And, if you want to be lazy, just like Channel 4, heres a standard complaint letter youre free to cut-and-paste and use as your own. Rather than playing the Im a cyclist and Im disgusted card, it tells Channel 4 that it has alienated some key upmarket viewers. Thats the sort of thing that loses them advertisers so will hurt more than complaining as a cyclist.
I would like to add my voice to the frustration that is building regarding the erratic coverage of the Tour de France. Whilst I applaud C4 for your trail blazing past achievements, you are doing yourself no favours at present. The Tour de France programme is loved by Francophiles as well as cyclists and much of the AB1 audience attracted to your coverage in previous years most of whom are not cycling fans as such will now be migrating to the coverage on the internet and Eurosport.
Losing a previously loyal set of viewers like this is a cardinal sin in an age of increasingly fragmenting TV audiences. For an upscale minority channel such as yourself, its quality that counts not quantity and youve just alienated a great many upmarket viewers. Your advertisers cannot be best pleased about this.
VTVs 14 year coverage of the Tour de France is the third oldest TV programme on Channel 4 after Countdown and Brookside. You wouldnt mess with these two anchor programmes so why mess with the Tour de France? I hope you realise your scheduling error and, next year, put the Tour back where it belongs: primetime.