Channel 4 Launches 4oD Video-On-Demand Service


Channel 4 today announces the launch of 4oD, its own-brand video-on-demand service, making it the first UK broadcaster to make all its home-grown programming available on an on demand basis.

For the first time UK viewers with a PC and a broadband connection will be able to go online at any time to catch up with any Channel 4 programmes they've missed. Registered 4oD users will have up to 30 days after a programme's first transmission to access repeats of current home-grown favourites such as Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, Hollyoaks and 8 Out Of 10 Cats.

4oD will also open up the Channel 4 archives, making hundreds of hours of classic programmes available to download such as Queer As Folk, Trigger Happy TV and Drop The Dead Donkey.

The launch of the 4oD service to PCs follows an agreement signed with ntl Telewest in October to make 4oD programming available on demand across the digital cable platform. Channel 4 has also signed an agreement with BT Vision to make 4oD content available on its new broadband platform (see separate release).

Andy Duncan, Chief Executive of Channel 4, said: "The launch of 4oD positions Channel 4 at the global cutting edge of the convergence of television and the web - this is the first time a major broadcaster has made all its commissioned content available on demand. This demonstrates our absolute conviction about the need to make our distinctive, high-quality content available to our audience wherever, whenever and on whatever device they want to watch it."

Rod Henwood, New Business Director of Channel 4, said: "Channel 4 has been a pioneer in video-on-demand and the success of earlier trials has convinced us that a genuine appetite for on-demand viewing exists.

"As a commercial broadcaster we need our new media services to be commercially viable and over time we expect 4oD to become profitable and play a key role in addressing Channel 4's long-term funding gap. We are deliberately experimenting with a variety of business models from pay-per-view, subscription and ad-funded to free in order to build a truly compelling on-demand service for our viewers. We want 4oD to lead the way in video-on-demand and ensure its commercial success benefits our independent suppliers as well as Channel 4. "

4oD will be available to PC users with a broadband connection from Wednesday 6th December 2006 via At launch, 4oD will allow users to rent a huge range of Channel 4 content for between 99p to £1.99p with two pieces of promotional content available each week free of charge. Rented content can be stored in a personalised library until the programme is first viewed at which point users have 48 hours to watch each programme an unlimited number of times.

Channel 4 has signed licensing agreements with almost 100 independent production companies including Endemol, RDF Media and Hat Trick Productions to supply content to 4oD. All original British content commissioned by Channel 4 after June 2006 will automatically be available via 4oD for at least 30 days after its first transmission.

Programming available at launch includes:

  • Drama: Shameless, The Deal, Teachers, GBH, Queer As Folk, Desperate Housewives
  • Comedy: Peep Show, Spaced, Trigger Happy TV, Black Books, Whose Line is it Anyway?, The Daily Show
  • Documentaries: Time Team, Born To Be Different, David Starkey's Monarchy, Krakatoa
  • Entertainment: Faking It, Wife Swap, Deal Or No Deal, Best of the Word, Derren Brown: The Series
  • Food & Health: Jamie's School Dinners, You Are What You Eat, Gordon Ramsay's F-Word
  • Home: Location, Location, Location, A Place In The Sun, Risking It All

Channel 4 is in advanced negotiations to acquire the on-demand rights to key acquired series and has already secured the rights to a number of key shows including Desperate Housewives.

Registered users will need to install a new desktop application to access the 4oD service. Once installed, users will be able to download content direct to the 4oD application. Downloading content can take up to one-and-a-half times the duration of the programme which guarantees high quality, full screen play-back. Music and film sub-brands of 4oD will launch in due course


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