Channel 4 Clinch Pioneering Online Deal

British Sitcom Peep Show Stars David Mitchell and Robert Webb

British Sitcom Peep Show Stars David Mitchell and Robert Webb

(Courtesy of c4peepshow)

CHANNEL 4 have this week signed a revolutionary deal with YouTube, that will allow the video sharing website to broadcast full length TV shows online.

The three-year deal sees YouTube move away from only screening short clips to offering viewers full-length episodes for the very first time.

C4 shows such as Skins, Peep Show and Teachers, will all be available to watch via YouTube for free.

Jon Gisby, director of Future Media and Technology at Channel 4, believes the partnership will allow C4 to generate more viewers and, therefore, stay ahead of its’ competitors.

“Our strategy has always been to get our content on as many digital platforms as makes sense.

“It is still a rapidly evolving market…the only way to stay ahead is to roll up our sleeves and get on with it.”

YouTube will broadcast delayed coverage of C4 episodes soon after airing 50 hours a week and provide 3,000 hours of archive programming, featuring shows such as Brass Eye and Derren Brown.

As the agreement is non-exclusive, C4 will continue to show their TV shows via 4oD or from their website.

The UK broadcaster is also free to set up any deals with other third-party online services as part of the agreement.

The rise of online viewing

Online TV viewing in the UK has seen a meteoric rise, according to Screen Digest, thanks to improved online streaming.

Screen Digest say 7.5 hours in 2005 rocketed to an estimated 410m in 2009 of online viewing.

They also forecast more than 750m hours of TV will be watched on a laptop in 4 years’ time.

The BBC’s iPlayer video-on-demand service, launched in 2007, has proved immensely popular with millions of users tuning in online each month to catch up on shows they’ve missed due to hectic lifestyles.

The BBC is now looking to make the service accessible worldwide, on a pay-per view basis.

Sky have their own Skyplayer, as do ITV, along with the option to view all their channels live via the web.

Financial clout

YouTube is the largest video site on the web, with an estimated 100 million viewers per day, accounting for 65% of UK online viewing.

Channel 4 chief executive, Andy Duncan, hopes introducing YouTube as one of its broadcasting platforms, will allow them to push for greater revenue through advertisement deals.

“Channel 4 was the first broadcaster anywhere in the world to make all its commissioned content available online and we’ve consistently pioneered in this field,” Duncan explained.

“Making our programmes directly accessible to YouTube’s 20 million UK users will financially benefit both Channel 4 and our independent production partners and help bolster our investment in quality British content.”


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