E4

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E4

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E4 is a digital television channel in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, launched as a pay-TV companion to Channel 4 on 18 January 2001. The "E" stands for entertainment, and the channel is mainly aimed at the lucrative 15 - 35 age group. Programming includes US imports such as Friends, ER, The O.C., Smallville, The Sopranos, What About Brian?, Desperate Housewives, Gilmore Girls, One Tree Hill, Scrubs, and British dramas such as Shameless, Hollyoaks, Skins and Nearly Famous. Some of the imports, e.g. The O.C., Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewives, are screened on E4 up to one week ahead of their Channel 4 broadcasts.

When the Big Brother reality show is being transmitted E4 devotes much of its schedule to live coverage from inside the Big Brother house; interactive features that give access to additional camera angles have also been transmitted. The channel also allows Big Brother voting options and Big Brother repeats. Big Brother coverage is among the highest-rating programming on the channel, and comes at a time when most of the year's American imports have ended.

On 16 December 2004, Channel 4 announced that the subscription channel would launch on digital terrestrial television. It was a part of the Top Up TV subscription scheme until 27 May 2005, when the channel became available on Freeview, with the potential to increase advertising revenue by attracting a larger audience.

E4 was also available as part of the basic Sky Digital satellite subscription channel package, due to a long term contract with BSkyB due to expire in 2008. However, on 6 May 2008 the channel went Free-to-Air along with more4 as part of the launch of Freesat.

In May 2005 E4 introduced "First Look", showing episodes of popular programmes such as Hollyoaks and drama series such as Lost and Invasion in advance of transmission on Channel 4.

In August 2005 E4 became a 24-hour channel with the introduction of E4 Music. It transmits from 6 a.m. (7am on E4+1) unless Big Brother or other reality shows are in progress.

In October 2005 More4 was launched to complement Channel 4's digital channels. The West Wing has since been moved exclusively to More4.

E4 launched a Republic of Ireland service in June 2002 which has become the second most popular non-terrestrial channel in Ireland with 1.1% of the audience; Sky1 is the most popular.

Since 2006 E4 has sponsored the E4 UdderBELLY venue (part of Underbelly) at the Edinburgh Fringe and Brighton Festival. The venue took the form of a giant upside cow in the purple colour of E4's logo.

In July 2007 it was announced Channel 4 would be launching E4 Radio, the first of a network of channels to be broadcast on DAB radio .The station will be launched in July 2008 and will be aimed at a similar demographic to its sister television channel.


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