The rewiring of broadcast media by digital technologists is throwing up a number of challenges for designers. An explosion of digital TV channels has created a need for niche identities and screen graphics, as more channels aimed at a narrow target market are launched.
But there is also a need for bundles of channels to be packaged using umbrella brands more suitable for wider promotion. The result is design opportunities at a number of levels.
When German media tycoon Leo Kirch bought German cable channel Premiere, his plan was to merge it with one of his existing channels, DF1. The design challenge was not only to launch the merged channels as a new TV platform, but to create identities for packages of channels appealing to target groups.
So Premiere’s small in-house team in Hamburg came up with a platform identity to preserve some of the upmarket brand quality of Premiere’s former incarnation. It was named Premiere World. Three channel packages, Movie World, Sports World and Family World were conceived by the Hamburg studio and worked up on-screen by London group Hobbins Sides, with production by The Moving Picture Company. Identities for individual channels were also produced by up to half a dozen design groups across Europe, including English and Pocket, in the UK.
Premiere’s original identity was designed by Neville Brody to appeal to a selective audience. Hobbins Sides producer Eira Fesnoux says that the Kirch launch was about widening the programme content of the old channel, which had a subscriber figure of 1.4 million people.
‘Premiere had been positioned very upmarket and so the new platform, Premiere World, required wider appeal.
‘Our brief covered the on-screen implementation of the identity through to the introduction of the three package identities for Movie World, Sports World and Family World. We began production at the beginning of August and it was turned around very quickly,’ she says.
The new platform uses the strapline Your Personal TV, so Hobbins Sides has tried to maintain the idea of it being personal, while at the same time communicating a world of variety and choice. Each package has its own unique identity, differentiated by a range colours, movement and lighting – Fesnoux says that Movie World is ‘slow and majestic’, Sports World is ‘fast and dynamic’ and Family World is ‘positive and enchanting’.
‘Our sequences begin with a hand offering a ball of energy and light to the viewer. This globe takes on a life of its own, becoming a vast world. The surface of this world is then transformed by a powerful light,’ she explains.
Premiere World, with 20 channels of programmes, launches in Germany on 1 October.
Creative director: Patricia Poelk
Head of design: Ian Thomson
Creative director: Andrew Sides
Project designer: FranÃ§ois Cassin
Producer: Eira Fesnoux