Channel 4 is aiming to encourage more young people to vote in the General Election by shutting down its youth-orientated channel, E4, on May 7th.
In a promotional video, the channel has announced that its fictional controller, Darren, will suspend programming between 7am and 7pm.
This move from Channel 4 marks the first time a UK channel has gone dark in order to spur on voter engagement.
“We know telly can be very alluring,” said the video. “May 7th is election day and Darren is going to turn E4 off so you might as well go off and vote.”
E4 is popular amongst under-25s, mainly as a result of its American sitcom imports, such as The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother and Zooey Deschanel vehicle New Girl.
According to Ipsos MORI, only 44% of registered voters under the age of 25 voted in the 2010 General Election.
Bournemouth University students are skeptical about the influence that shutting down E4 will have.
Wil Oxford said: “I think it’s a bit insulting that they think all young people do is sit around watching E4 all day in the first place, kind of playing into a stereotype that we’re all lazy and don’t really do anything.”
“I think it’s ridiculous,” said Katie Pathiaki. “If a young person doesn’t want to vote, then turning off one of their favourite TV shows isn’t going to do much.”
Emma Baker said: “It’s like taking a toddler’s toys away to try and make it behave and saying it can have them back when it does what it’s told. I genuinely can’t believe it.”