Channel 4 signs long-form content deal with YouTube

[UK] BREAKING: This is quite a big move from TV broadcaster Channel 4 in the UK. They appear to be admitting their 4oD video-on-demand ‘catch-up’ service is no match for putting the lot on YouTube. Here’s the release that just went out:

YouTube, Channel 4 sign pioneering long-form content deal

October 15 2009: YouTube and Channel 4 have signed a pioneering content deal which will make the broadcaster’s original programmes available on demand, in full and free-of-charge via YouTube in the UK in the coming months.

The strategic partnership marks the first time that a broadcaster anywhere in the world has made a comprehensive catch-up schedule available on YouTube, providing Channel 4 with additional advertising inventory and reach: YouTube last week announced it was serving over 1 billion video streams every day.

Under the terms of the deal, Channel 4 will make its 4oD video-on-demand ‘catch-up’ service of new programmes available via YouTube shortly after television transmission, including series that have already proved particularly popular with online audiences such as Skins, Hollyoaks, The Inbetweeners and Peep Show. YouTube users will also be able to access around 3,000 hours of full length programming from the Channel 4 archive at any given time, including shows like Brass Eye, Derren Brown, Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, Teachers and many others.

Content will begin appearing in the coming months and be fully available in early 2010. All programmes will be available only in the UK, free-of-charge supported by advertising.

Financial terms are not being disclosed, but the partnership runs for an initial term of at least three years and the two parties will share advertising revenues on an agreed formula. The deal will create significant value for Channel 4 and its independent production partners, generating additional revenue to invest in creating high quality, original content. YouTube and Channel 4 will continue to co-operate on additional monetisation opportunities as new technology evolves.

Channel 4 will have a branded presence on YouTube and will be able to sell advertising around its content on the site. The agreement also allows Channel 4 to sell advertising around some non-Channel 4 content on YouTube for the first time, expanding the amount of inventory available to its sales team and bringing its considerable expertise in advertising around full length TV content to the YouTube platform. It will help Channel 4 develop its advertising sales proposition in digital, including the use of YouTube’s demographic targeting tools to target advertising against Channel 4 content on YouTube.

The deal builds significantly on Channel 4 and YouTube’s existing partnership; Channel 4 was the first broadcaster to sell pre-roll advertisements on YouTube clips and to incorporate an offline sponsor into an online YouTube package (Lucozade, Big Brother).

The deal is non-exclusive, allowing Channel 4 to continue distributing its 4oD service via its own website,, and other third party sites and services.

Nikesh Arora, President, Global Sales Operations and Business Development for Google, YouTube’s owner, said: “Over the past few years, fans have had access to increasing amounts of professional programming online as TV companies experiment with new ways of distributing their content. Channel 4 have been visionary in their online strategy and are consistently at the forefront of new uses of YouTube to engage their viewers and unlock new revenue streams. This significant new agreement brings Channel 4’s great full length content to the YouTube community, helping Channel 4 to grow their online revenues and to continue to invest in the creation of high quality original content.”.

Andy Duncan, Channel 4’s Chief Executive, said: “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. This strategic partnership is another important milestone for us and we’re delighted to be combining the power of the ‘4’ brand and the appeal of our content with YouTube’s unrivalled reach and reputation online.

“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. It demonstrates our ability to strike dynamic commercial partnerships to help underpin our future as a commercially funded, not-for-profit multi-platform public service network.”

Jon Gisby, Director of Future Media and Technology at Channel 4, added: “Channel 4 has a clear lead among commercial broadcasters in video-on-demand and we’re convinced extending our relationship with YouTube will help consolidate that position. The deal will grow our share of the audience and enhance our advertising sales proposition. It will create new advertising inventory for Channel 4 Sales in digital media and will help us realise our ambition to be the UK’s leading sales house for video-on-demand.”

Patrick Walker, YouTube’s Director of Partnerships, added: “We know that the YouTube community is enthusiastic about full-length programming on the site, and we’ve been working hard to create the right environment for more broadcasters to make their content available with the right branding, the right advertising formats and the right level of control over advertising sales. This partnership demonstrates our commitment to bringing an even greater range of content to YouTube and we look forward to other similar agreements to come.”