Channel 4 to invest in content for Teens distributed on YouTube and social channels

Category: News Release

Teens strand is part of Channel 4’s new original digital content strategy

Channel 4’s Chief Executive, Alex Mahon and Director of Programmes, Ian Katz today announced new plans for the organisation to invest in a new content strand for teenagers, to be distributed on YouTube and other social channels – as part of Channel 4’s ongoing strategy to supercharge its impact with young people and accelerate its digital presence.    The new strand will ensure that a new generation of viewers who watch an increasing amount of their video content on social platforms develop a continuing relationship with the Channel 4 brand.

As part of the new teens strand, which will launch in early 2020, Channel 4 will build on its existing linear commitment to programming aimed at older children, with a new digital-first range of short and medium-form content aimed at 13-16 year-olds.   This content, which will include a seven-figure investment in original commissions, will be made available on YouTube, as well as being distributed on Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook – reflecting where teen viewers are spending increasing amounts of their time.   The teens strand will be commissioned and run from Channel 4’s new National HQ in Leeds.

Channel 4’s trusted brand values will be at the heart of the content, with a commitment to be innovative, distinctive, to reflect the diversity of all the UK and to give new and unheard voices a platform.  The commitment reflects findings of Ofcom who have identified a clear gap in the provision of high quality, UK-produced content for younger teen audiences and tasked the commercially funded PSB’s to develop new plans for children’s content by this summer. A new brand for the teens strand is in development and further details, including the editorial proposition, will be released later in 2019.

The new teens strand is a key plank in Channel 4’s new original digital content strategy, with the organisation currently recruiting for the new role of Head of Digital Commissioning, reporting to Director of Programmes, Ian Katz.   Channel 4’s Digital Creative Unit, which will have a focus on commissioning and creating content for young audiences for distribution across social and digital channels is being established in the new National HQ in Leeds, with the first content for the unit, a factual strand 4Real targeted at 16-34s launching in late-2019. 

Other key digital content strands recently announced include new comedy-talent short-form brand, Sparks; and the expansion of successful Channel 4 music brand Four To The Floor into a new digital-first strand distributed across social media channels.

Announcing the new teens commitment, Director of Programmes Ian Katz said: “Channel 4 has always had an incredibly powerful connection with young people but investing in a new teens strand is about making sure that a new generation, who spend an increasing amount of time consuming video on social platforms, continue to have a strong relationship with the Channel 4 brand.  It will also play a vital role in filling a gap in the market’s provision of high quality, innovative and trusted public service content for this younger teens audience.”