A Virgin No More?


If you like sitting down at night to That 70s Show and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, you probably have noticed a change in popular UK television channel Virgin1. British Sky Broadcasting bought Virgin Media Television this summer and is in the process of rebranding all of their newly acquired channels. The result is that Channel One is a Virgin no longer.

That’s right: Virgin1 is now Channel One, but the name is not the only thing that has changed. Channel One has a completely different logo design and a completely different brand from its predecessor. The Virgin1 logo design was recognizable to anyone familiar with the Virgin super-corporation, with the Virgin name in its distinctive font together with a bubbly, modern number one. This gives a friendly feeling that definitely goes well with the overall Virgin brand. The combination of red and white is eye-catching but also fun.

This is the brand that brought Virgin1 from a non-station to one of the most watched channels on UK television. Therefore, it is risky for Channel One to completely rebrand. However, the channel decided to make the transition. The new logo design features the first word of the name in a friendly, rounded, lower case font, followed by the word ‘one’ written in a bright red ribbon. This is equally attention-grabbing as the old logo, and just as friendly to the young, hip television viewer who makes up their target audience. In addition, the use of a ribbon motif may prove an advantage because it is highly modern and can be animated in a variety of ways. As we have already seen in Channel One ads, the ribbon can be created on video to give a sense of movement that is very appropriate for a television station.

As with every industry, television channels have unique needs when it comes to logo design. Their logos must be able to look good in very large formats, such as billboards, and also recognizable when very small, such as in the corner of a television screen. They must be colourful and eye catching, but simple enough to appeal to a wide audience and represent a diverse line up of programming. Last, they must look good both still and when animated. The Channel One logo meets all of these requirements while maintaining the friendly feeling of the Virgin1 logo.

However, these were not enough to keep the channel alive. British Sky Broadcasting recently re-evaluated their line up and decided that Channel One is too similar to Sky3. The newly formed channel and its much watched programming are on the chopping block.

Both logos were examples of good, industry-appropriate design. However, neither will survive to 2011. Sometimes the business world, especially in the media business, is fickle and unkind. Only brands that rise to the challenge will survive. In this case, both brands failed to differentiate themselves, especially from Sky3. This, in the end, was their downfall.