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E4 will be switched off on election day to encourage viewers to vote

Thursday, April 23rd 2015 by Ellen Branagh

Channel 4 will shut down E4 on the day of the General Election, the broadcaster has announced.

The channel, which is specifically tailored to 16-34-year-olds, will be turned off for the day on 7 May in an effort to encourage its viewers to vote.

The shutdown is believed to be the first time in the UK that a channel has shut down to help mobilise potential voters.

It was announced with a television campaign launched across Channel 4’s family of channels.

In a short video explaining the reasons behind the switch off, viewers are introduced to ‘Darren’ – who apparently works in the control room and is responsible for switching E4 on and off.

Describing how television can be “alluring”, the video asks: “How many times have you missed life-changing events because you wanted to watch your favourite show?

“May 7 is election day and Darren is going to turn E4 off. So you might as well go and vote.”

It adds: “You won’t forget, will you Darren?”

'Most powerful weapon'

When polling stations open at 7am on election day, E4’s regular schedule will have been switched off, and instead of seeing normal programmes and commercials, viewers will just see Darren manning the control room.

Dan Brooke, Channel 4’s chief marketing and communications officer said: “Less than half of under-25s voted at the last election so we’ve engaged the most powerful weapon that we have at our disposal to try and boost that number – switching off their favourite TV channel for the day!”

E4, whose hit programmes have includes the Inbetweeners, Glee and Misfits, was launched in 2001.

The channel attracts a 5.20% share of the young demographic so far this year – outperforming BBC2 and Channel 5.

The shutdown of E4 follows the launch of Channel 4’s ‘X’ earlier this month – a campaign aiming to boost the number of under-25s voting.

And on Monday (28 April) Channel 4 will stream the first ever Youth Leaders’ Debate, where seven youth party leaders will tackle the key issues for young voters.

Policies for improving the UK’s broadband and mobile infrastructure have been included in most of the political parties’ election manifestos.

Here, Cable.co.uk looks at the main points made by each party.

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