MediaCorp Channel U or Channel U (U頻道; pinyin: U Píndào) is Singapore's 2nd free-to-air Mandarin television channel in Singapore. It is the second of two Singapore Mandarin over-the-air television channels in Singapore, with the other being MediaCorp Channel 8.
It was created by Singapore Press Holdings(SPH) on 6 May 2001 as an alternative Chinese channel to MediaCorp Channel 8. After SPH Mediaworks and Mediacorp merged in 1 January 2005, it now serves as a complementary to MediaCorp Channel 8.
When operated by the incumbent broadcaster SPH Mediaworks (a subsidiary of Singapore Press Holdings) during its first four years, Channel U had a similar programming as MediaCorp Channel 8, with the foundation set up by staff transferred over to SPH Mediaworks from TCS, such as Bryan Wong and Kim Ng. Due to lack of facilities and expertise, broadcaster SPH Mediaworks could only produced a limited number of local productions. Nonetheless, the channel quickly grew its popularity and viewership over the years, through efforts like airing Hong Kong and Taiwan prime time television dramas and variety shows, by being the first channel to air television programmes from Korea and also producing the local productions with good quality. These efforts paid off eventually as by its third year, Channel U had garnered more viewership than MediaCorp Channel 8.
However, this did not translate into profits for broadcaster SPH MediaWorks. Mounting losses from fierce competition and a small free-to-air TV advertising demand caused the TV business to be viewed as unsustainable. Thus, as "a rationalisation move to stem losses and enhance shareholder value.", SPH Mediaworks was made to merge with Mediacorp with effect of 1 January 2005 and Channel U was operated by Mediacorp ever since. Upon merger with MediaCorp on 1 January 2005, Singaporeans aged 15–45 became Channel U's target audience and broadcasting hours was changed to begin at 3:00 pm on weekdays and 10:00 am on weekends. Channel U continued to air the Ren Ci charity shows (as it did previously when under Mediaworks) and started to run Campus Superstar, a singing competition for teenagers. There are more locally-produced programmes on the channel, which included a revamp of the news bulletins, and the introduction of new current events and variety programmes.
Between 1 January 2005 and 14 August 2012, it exclusively aired 100% Entertainment, 23 hours after Taiwan's Gala Television's original broadcast, from Sundays to Thursdays, at 5pm and again before transmission ends. In 2010, there is a major programming refresh of Channel U during prime-time hours ever since post-merger. Channel U started having non-stop entertainment programmes on weekdays between 8:00 pm and 10:00 pm with the best of acquired programmes from the region and quality local productions. Its weekend news bulletin News Club, which aired at 7pm, was replaced by current affairs programmes Money Week and World This Week, which were previously aired on Mediacorp Channel 8.
- 以優為先 (Putting Excellence [or You] First, 6 May 2001-31 December 2004. This slogan is a play on the channel name, as the Chinese word 優 sounds like the letter U.)
- 帶動亞洲流行 (Leading Asia's Trends, 1 January 2005-30 November 2008)
- 最精彩 (The Most Exciting, 1 December 2008–Present, complements Channel 8's longtime former slogan, 最親切 (The Most Endearing))
During 'no transmission' periods, there would be continuous non-scheduled repeated-reruns of 2 random past Channel U local productions and the preview of latest programmes, all the way till the Home Shopping Programme starts. This is different from other non 24-hour channels, that would have test cards instead during the 'no transmission' periods.
Channel U is on air from 3pm to about 2:30am the next day, with no transmission from around 2:30am to 11am on Monday to Thursday and 2:30am to 6am on Fridays.
Channel U is on air from 10am to about 2:30am the next day, with no transmission from 2:30am to 6am on Saturday and from 2:30am to 11am on Sunday.
Every day before Channel U goes on air, there is a Home Shopping programme, from 11am to 3pm on weekdays and from 6am to 10am on weekends.
Channel U shares artists with Mediacorp TV Channel 8. For example, Jeanette Aw is the lead artist for Channel U's Jump!(2012) and Channel 8's Beyond(2013).
Also, since 2010, Channel U airs the encore version of Channel 8's "News Tonight" an hour after original broadcast on Channel 8, at 11pm daily.
This is probably due to lack of manpower and short of entertainment programming during prime-time.
- 2006: Dream Chasers 夢·拼圖
- 2008: Perfect Cut 一切完美
- 2009: Perfect Cut 2 一切完美 2
- 2010: The Illusionist 魔幻視界
- 2010: Secret Garden 秘密花園
- 2011: Secrets For Sale 拍。卖
- 2012: Show Hand 注定
- 2012: Jump! 跳浪！
News programme and current affairsEdit
Documentary and docudramaEdit
Lifestyle and fashionEdit
- 2005: Hearts of Gold 從心出發