How Channel 4 and the BBC Target Youth Audience?

Different institutions target the youth audience in different ways. Depending on whether teenagers are there specific target or not. Through out the various channels there appears to be a common trend. This refers predominantly to the BBC as an institution who follows traditional notions of programming based on time. This is in contrast with channel 4 whose sole aim is to target a youth audience, and therefore repeat programmes throughout the day which will most likely do just that. When analysing the BBC more closely the common trend becomes very apparent.

BBC1 for instance between the times of 6am to roughly 3pm target predominately an older audience, perhaps of a working class with programming such as ‘cash in the attic’ and ‘Bargain hunt’. Both dealing with the similar notion of how to make money. These particular programmes would fail to seize a youth audience. However due to the traditional ideologies of this particular institution, teenagers are not targeted until at least 5pm which is the time you would expect these young adults to recline in front of the telly.

Programming such as ‘The slammer’ begins to draw in that all important youth audience.

Dealing with issues of a controversial nature, such as crime, and in this case prison, is always used as a major weapon to engage teenagers as the idea of rebelling is common amongst the young adults. This idea is also followed throughout BBC2, however more heavily applied as most programmes before and after a certain time aim to target a younger audience.

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Interestingly BBC2 attempts to relate to a youth audience very early on, 7:30am there is a programme named ‘MySay’, simply from the title we can tell the target audience.

Symbolising independence and a freedom of speech would naturally interest teens. This particular programme deals with a teenager’s hatred for homework, which is an issue most teenagers can relate to. I believe broadcasting it at this time supports the traditional notions the BBC uphold. Which would be in this case, teenagers preparing to leave for school. As the evening progresses, the youth audience are again slowly introduced. Using light hearted programmes such as ‘Strictly come dancing’ to draw them in. Followed by more audience specific programming such as ‘James May’s – inventing the teenager’.

Various comedy shows play throughout the rest of the night, allowing young adults to relax as there is not much focus needed. ‘The Graham Norton Show’ in particular uses an iconic performer ‘Alesha Dixon’ to again bring in that all important teen audience. Alesha symbolises youth culture, and represents young people’s love for music. The BBC3 are a lot more subtle in their approach to a youth audience. They use programmes that target a wide range of people, not solely the teens. Programming such as ‘Eastenders’ is amusingly broadcasted at 10pm.

This soap opera in particular draws in a mass audience, as a long running soap it has gained loyal followers and also attempts to add the youth audience to there fan club. Representing young teenagers through there episodes, they attempt to pursue the young adults. BBC3 begins at 7pm, this is key in discovering this institutions target audience. There is no child programming unlike the other two sister channels. All programmes range from the 17-35 age bracket. This idea is supported with programmes such as ‘family guy’ which seems to be repeatedly played throughout the course of the evening.

Family guy is an animation which contains adult humour and bad language. All aspects are key in obtaining a youth audience. In contrast with the BBC we have channel 4 who are well known for targeting predominantly teenagers. This goal is reached in various ways. There choice of programming circulates mostly around the comedy genre. Humour is there key tool in drawing in there audience. Programmes such as ‘the Simpsons’ and ‘Everybody loves Raymond’ are light hearted, they don’t require a lot of focus, and there sole purpose is to entertain.

Entertainment seems to be a significant trait in this channels ideology. Competing with the BBC, channel 4 also broadcast a soap opera ‘Hollyoaks’. From this programme it is very clear who this institution aims to target. Hollyoaks has been described as the ‘most exciting teen-drama on television’. Eastenders target a mass audience, with characters representing different walks of life; Whereas Hollyoaks is very much focused and uses problematic teenage storylines to keep that all important youth audience.

More4 being a sister channel of channel 4, follow similar methods in gaining there audience. Revisiting popular and youth culture is essential within there institution. Keeping up to date with news, trends, popular culture and current events assists them in grasping there young audience. These outlines are fulfilled by programmes such as ‘The Daily Show with Jon Stewart’ who looks at news with ‘an alternative point of view’. There is also programming which doesn’t specifically focus on teenagers, however the use of adult humour draws them in despite the topic.

An example of this would be ‘Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares’. E4 is the most focused of all channels in targeting the youth audience. It is there sole purpose, and uses repeats of light hearted programming to target this. ‘E4 Music Zone’ incorporates news, gossip and music. These are all traits of popular culture which is something most teenagers conform to. This programme is repeated from 7. 30am until 9am. Which ties with the BBC’s traditional notions of teenagers getting ready for school.

Series seem to feature heavily on this channel, series such as ‘one tree hill’ and ‘scrubs’. Both are essential in gaining a young audience. Focusing on friendships, relationships and problems along the way are all issues that young people feel they can relate to. This similar programming is repeated throughout the day, until 10:30pm where a movie is broadcasted. In this case it is ‘Mean Girls’. This film represents the battle of wanting to fit in, at the same time as succeeding in education. Again a very focused and audience specific programme.

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How Channel 4 and the BBC Target Youth Audience?. (2017, Aug 10). Retrieved from

How Channel 4 and the BBC Target Youth Audience?
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