Channel 4 enjoys record digital growth
James R | On 13, Jun 2019
Channel 4 enjoyed a year of record digital growth in 2018, with 915 million views recorded.
Channel 4 delivered strong commercial performance last year, despite difficult market conditions and ongoing economic uncertainty. The broadcaster delivered corporation revenues of £975m – an increase of +£15m on 2017. £662m was invested in content – the third highest investment in Channel 4’s history – and within that, the amount spent on the main Channel 4 increased to £548m, up +£4m on 2017.
That investment paid off: Derry Girls launched as Channel 4’s most successful new comedy since 2004 – and was the biggest series on record in Northern Ireland since records began. A number of ground breaking new formats and programmes were launched, such as The Big Narstie Show, Genderquake, Peng Life, Stath lets Flats, Prison and The Circle, which delivered a 49% profile of all 16-34s viewers across the series – the largest on any terrestrial channel since 2012.
These new shows were complemented by investment in hit returning shows, 16 of which grew their audience in 2018, including Gogglebox, 24 Hours in Police Custody, Grand Designs, The Island with Bear Grylls, Hunted and 8 Out of 10 Cats. As a result, Channel 4’s main channel share was maintained level at 5.9% across the year.
But digital was the real star of 2018, with All 4 enjoying growth of +26% – the highest rate since 2010 – to reach a record 915 million views over the year. All 4’s success reflects the increased demand for catch up programming from the channel portfolio’s strong linear schedule, and the success of its large archive and exclusive box set content – which now includes partnerships with Vice, Adult Swim, Sky and Walter Presents. The success in growing digital viewing on All 4 resulted in record digital revenues of £138m. These were up by +11% year on year and now make up 14% of total corporation revenues.
Building on the strong and successive growth in digital viewing and revenues, Alex Mahon has also announced two major new developments this week to accelerate digital growth and drive youth engagement.
The first is the announcement that Channel 4 has signed up to a landmark new Terms of Trade agreement for a digital era. The bespoke partnership puts in place a new framework for independent producers commissioned by Channel 4. For the first time Channel 4 will for its licence fee have full flexibility to use programmes across its portfolio of channels and video-on-demand (VoD) services, including All 4, within the licence term without negotiating further rights. It will enable Channel 4 to make its content available on linear channels and on-demand to suit how and where viewers want to watch it. For independent producers, the new deal will give them full control and ownership of the secondary revenue generated by the IP they create – as they will retain all net receipts from international exploitation, and from exploitation in the UK after the expiry of the Channel 4 licence term. For the first time, the Terms of Trade will also apply to shows commissioned for E4.
Secondly, in a major new strategic announcement, Alex Mahon and Director of Programmes, Ian Katz announced new plans for the organisation to invest in a new content strand for teenagers, to be distributed on YouTube and other social channels. You can read more about that here.