Channel 4 will launch a new VOD service to showcase foreign-language drama series.
The service, which has the working title 4World Drama, will be exclusively available in the UK via Channel 4’s new digital hub, All 4, which recently replaced 4oD.
The platform will be free to all UK viewers when it launches this autumn and is designed to capitalise on the growing demand for premium foreign-language drama from British viewers.
Indeed, in recent years, BBC Four has turned its Saturday night slot for foreign drama into a fixed appointment in viewers’ calendars, while shows such as The Killing, The Returned, The Bridge and Borgen have gone on to inspire other popular series such as The Tunnel, Broadchurch and Fortitude, not to mention English-language remakes.
There is still a large number of international drama series that have not yet been broadcast in the UK, though. More than 500 hours of drama will be exclusively available for box-set viewing on All 4, supported by advertising and sponsorship to be sold by Channel 4.
For those who prefer traditional broadcast to streaming, a selection of the best series from 4World Drama’s line-up will also be premiered on Channel 4’s free-to-air channel, More 4, within a dedicated slot.
4World Drama is being launched in the UK through an exclusive partnership between Channel 4 and Global Series Network, founded and managed by Jason Thorp, Walter Iuzzolino and Jo McGrath. The two parties plan to rollout World Drama in a number of other TV markets.
Shows will range from Czech political thrillers and Belgian murder capers to Argentine family sagas and German cold war pieces. Pictured above is Blue Eyes, a 10-part political thriller from Swedish broadcaster SVT1. The show follows the murder of right-wing politician Annika Nilsson in the run-up to the country’s general elections. Her children, Simon (19) and Sofia (24), handle their loss differently. Sofia is convinced that immigrants killed her mother. In her hunt for scapegoats, she comes across a violent, extreme-right movement called Veritas, which is carrying out attacks against Swedish society.
“We’ve seen from the response to titles like The Returned on Channel 4 that there’s a real appetite for quality international drama from UK viewers,” comments Channel 4 Chief Executive, David Abraham, “but only a small selection of foreign-language series have been able to get a UK broadcast partner. This new service will be a fantastic showcase for creative talent around the world and an innovative addition to All 4.”
The news follows a year in which Channel 4 enjoyed a 23 per cent rise in VOD usage.
Photo: ZDFE Drama