Channel 4’s new adult entertainment public service channel, More4, has proved an instant hit with viewers, enjoying one of the most successful ever launch nights for a new digital channel.

The channel, which launched last night at 8pm with a first-night edition of its new More4 News won an average 2% audience share across its launch night schedule between 8pm and 12 midnight, making it the third most successful debut of a digital channel in recent years behind only E4 and ITV3.

With an average quarter hour audience of 269,000 More4 also managed to equal ITV2 as the most watched digital channel between 8pm and 12 midnight last night.

More 4’s opening night comfortably beat the first night of BBC 3, which had a 1.4% share of multi-channel viewing and an average quarter hour audience of 153,000 between 7pm and 12 midnight in February 2003 and BBC 4, which had just 0.15% of viewing and an average audience of 13,000 across the same time period in March 2002.

Head of More4, Peter Dale, said: “We are obviously delighted. For a public service channel to create this impact with a challenging schedule in such a hugely competitive market is an extraordinary achievement. This is a very encouraging start.”

The new channel achieved a peak audience of 574,000 viewers at 10pm during the premiere of A Very Social Secretary. The channel’s controversial satire of David Blunkett’s affair with The Spectator publisher, Kimberly Quinn, airing between 9pm and 10.30pm, won an average audience of 484,000 (2.9% audience share of multi-channel viewing) and was the most watched programme on a digital channel in its time slot.

Other first night programmes which performed strongly on More4 included: More4 News which was watched by 140,000 viewers; Emmy-award winning comedy The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, which gained an audience of 216,000; and new studio-based talk show The Last Word, which ended the night at 11pm with 92,000 viewers.