As the UK government proceeds with its plans to privatize Channel 4, the state-owned but commercially funded broadcaster has struck a strategic partnership with YouTube that will make approximately 1,000 hours of C4 programming available on the digital platform in the UK and Ireland, and allow Channel 4 to sell its own advertising around this content.
Beginning in May and rolling out progressively through 2022, new episodes of select C4 programs will be made available to watch on YouTube 30 days after they first air on Channel 4 and its sister channel E4. A number of factual and unscripted titles will be included in the content package, including the game show 8 Out of 10 Cats; survival competition series SAS: Who Dares Wins; talk show Unapologetic; real estate program Location, Location, Location; dating/relationship social experiment Davina McCall’s Language of Love; “dog dating” reality show The Dog House; and the topical documentaries Nikki Grahame – Who is She? and Gemma Collins: Self-Harm and Me.
The YouTube deal has been framed by Channel 4 as a key step in its five-year Future4 plan inaugurated in late 2020, which emphasized digital growth as crucial to the broadcaster’s financial sustainability. In addition to the content partnership, Channel 4 will create a new in-house ad sales team that will be exclusively dedicated to bringing in advertising for the designated YouTube programming.
“Innovative strategic partnerships are Channel 4′s speciality, and this new relationship with YouTube is another which will ensure we continue to keep growing our reach with young audiences and build on our unrivalled digital success,” said C4′s chief executive Alex Mahon (pictured).
In further Channel 4 news, the broadcaster’s film wing Film4 has announced important moves at the top of the executive ladder, as Daniel Battsek will take on the newly created role of chairman while Ollie Madden will step into Battsek’s previous role as director.
In his new role, Madden, who was formerly deputy director and creative director of the organization, will assume responsibility for day-to-day operations. He joined Film4 in 2017, and has 25 years of experience in film and high-end television with such companies as Dragon Films, Miramax Films, Intermedia Films and Warner Bros.
As chairman, Battsek — who came to Film4 in 2016 from Cohen Media Group, and has extensive experience with such other major names as National Geographic Films, Miramax and Buena Vista — will take on a wider remit covering Film4′s role within its parent company Channel 4, distribution and marketing of Film4 titles, and US distributor and equity co-financing relationships. He will also stay closely involved with Film4′s activities, and will hold joint responsibility with Madden for greenlighting Film4 projects, strategy, and corporate and press relations.
Commenting on the promotions, Mahon said that “Daniel and Ollie’s incredible dedication and expertise has ensured that Film4 is the partner of choice, producing some of the most thrilling, genre-defining and successful films of the last decade. In their new roles, they will ensure that Film4 will continue to be a major player — [not only] creatively, but also in terms of discovering and nurturing the wealth of talent in front of and behind the camera which makes the UK film industry the benchmark globally.”