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ITV4 opens strongly with 1.2m viewers for Champions League match

LONDON – ITV4's launch was dubbed one of the most successful digital channel debuts, achieving the highest peak rating of any launch with 1.2m viewers during the Chelsea/Real Batis Champions League match last night.

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As well as achieving the highest peak ratings of a channel launch with 1.2m viewers, ITV4 was the most popular multichannel station of the night beating Sky One by 0.6 share points. 

Overall the male-skewed channel averaged 335,000 viewers and a 3.23% share -- just behind the E4 and ITV3's launch nights with 3.68% and 3.62% respectively.

ITV4 launched with live coverage of the Champions League group match, which saw Real Betis beat Chelsea 1-0, from 7pm.

The match averaged 633,000 viewers and a 4% share, peaking at 1.2m viewers. It also helped ITV4 take a 5.1% share of the ABC1 male audience last night.

The UK premiere of much-anticipated US drama 'Kojak' attracted 285,000 viewers and a 2.2% share between 10pm and 10.50pm.

The Al Pacino film 'Carlito's Way' was watched by 72,000 viewers and a 1.4% share. 

Simon Shaps, ITV's director of television, said the launch of ITV4 marked the next phase in ITV's digital strategy. 

"Like ITV3's launch, ITV4's debut has proved to be the most successful digital channel launch to date. It is key that new channels make an impression on launch night and we are delighted that ITV4 performed so strongly on day one," he said.

E4 has been the biggest digital channel launch with a 3.68% share and ITV3 close behind with 3.62% on their opening nights.

More4's launch centrepiece 'A Very Social Secretary' in the 9pm timeslot, charting the affair between David Blunkett and The Spectator publisher Kimberly Quinn and which was heavily trailed on Channel 4, pulled in 484,000 viewers or a 2.9% audience share.

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