Channel 4 spotlights digital first performance in new Annual Report

by | Jul 13, 2023 | News

UK broadcaster Channel 4 has used its 2022 Annual Report to herald the performance of digital first platform Channel 4.0. Launched in October 2022, Channel 4 said that the platform has generated more than 42m views, with 75% from 13-24 year-olds.

Commenting, Channel 4 said: “To connect with young, digital audiences in an authentic way, we knew everything had to be on point: from the production companies we partnered with, through to the talent used in-show, and the tone of voice behind the community engagement. We partnered with Big Smoke Corporation, helmed by Joseph Adenuga, AKA Skepta, to ensure that Channel 4.0 delivered on its goals.”

According to Channel 4, early highlights have included “Secret Sauce, which saw host Chunkz competing against celebrity guests to recreate family recipes; It’s Alright To Be White, in which Alhan Gençay goes on a mission to discover Britain’s ‘whitest tribes’; and Nella Rose’s Flight Mode, which sees the host steer two sets of friends towards winning the ultimate party holiday via a mischievous airport game show.”

By the end of 2022, said Channel 4, 
eight new series had launched on Channel 4.0, generating 22.3 million minutes viewed, with 4.0 million views from 13-24-year-olds.

Particular praise was reserved for Untold: “An offshoot of our longstanding Dispatches strand, Untold dives into unique and hidden true stories, and features diverse and authentic voices from across the UK.” Highlights of the first season included Gay Under the Taliban, Life After Love Island, 
and The Secret World of Incels.

Commenting further on Untold, the Annual Report said: “With around two million views for the first series (and millions more on our YouTube documentaries page), it has proved that Channel 4 can engage young people with current affairs content across a range of topics from toxic masculinity to fast fashion. Subjects tackled in 2023 will range from life inside prison to the fascinating world of sugar mummies.”

The Report also provided insights into the performance of Leeds-based digital content unit 4Studios, which is focused on reaching and engaging young people on social platforms. A new wave of hiring brought the department’s headcount to over 150, triggering an increase in output for the division: “4Studio made and published over 35,000 pieces of content in 2022, generating approximately eight billion global views across more than 150 channels on the main social platforms. We saw global year-on-year increases 
in watch time on YouTube of 10%, while engagements on Instagram rose by over 60%. Among 13-24-year-olds in
the UK, views rose by over 25% on Snapchat and by almost 500% year-on-year on TikTok, and there were almost 350 million views of Channel 4 content on TikTok across the year.”

4Studio looks for ways to bring long-
form programming to life on social platforms – from rolling coverage of the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games via livestreams on YouTube, to the re-imagining of the Married at First Sight UK sofa as a sassy TikTok commentator, and the creation of the immersive VR Hollyoaks experience The Long Walk Home. It also creates original and branded programming, which in 2022 included Trainspotting with Francis Bourgeois, prank show Kids Behaving Badly, and short- form series I Survived, Ask The Mask, and Love Against The Odds. The latter was produced by 4Studio Productions, a creative unit that makes topical, reactive content.

In terms of digital first stats, the report picked out the following highlights:

Channel 4’s digital advertising revenue grew
 by 14% in 2022, to £255 million 
(2021: £224 million), despite a highly challenging economic backdrop.

Digital now makes up 22% of
 Channel 4’s total revenues, up from 19% in 2021 as C4 progresses towards its Future4 target of 30% digital advertising revenues by 2025.

Audiences spent 49.2 billion minutes streaming Channel 4 content and watching on social channels in 2022. Of this total, 45.9 billion related to streaming, 2.0 billion to social media and 1.3 billion to YouTube. Channel 4’s social accounts had half a million more 13-24-year-olds than its nearest competitor at the end of 2022.

4Studio made and published 35,000 pieces of
 digital content in 2022, generating approximately eight billion global views across the main social platforms. In the same period, 4Studio generated nearly half a billion views from UK 13-24 year olds, an average of 55 social clips watched for every young person in the UK.

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