Young people and crime fuel 40% growth and broken records for Channel 4 streaming

Category: News Release

Channel 4 delivered its biggest ever month of streaming in March, with viewing up 40% year-on-year to 6.9 billion viewer minutes, boosted by growth from young viewers and a trio of noisy, new factual hits that got the nation talking.

BARB data for the first quarter of 2024 – published as the channel pursues its Fast Forward strategy to become a public service streamer – shows that 18% of all Channel 4 viewing now comes from streaming, underlining the channel’s pioneering and industry-leading shift to a digital-first model.

The industry data reveals 18% growth in viewer minutes among 16 to 34-year-olds in Q1 2024 compared to Q1 2023, and that Channel 4 remains the youngest profiling PSB streaming player, with 27% of viewing from young audiences. Amongst 16-34s, 38% of all Channel 4 viewing is now streamed, compared to 29% in Q1 2023.

Documentaries and ‘constructed factual’ shows touching on real crime stories featured prominently in the quarter, with three new shows - The Jury: Murder Trial, To Catch a Copper and The Push: Murder on the Cliff – crashing into the top 10 streaming viewer minutes for both 16-34s and all individuals, within a 28-day consolidation window:

  • The Jury: Murder Trial – a landmark experiment in which a real-life murder trial is restaged in front of two juries of ordinary people - has become Channel 4’s biggest factual launch since Benefits Street in 2014. The four-part series registered 214 million streaming viewer minutes in the 28-day period. The show averaged 3 million viewers across broadcast and streaming, with 60% of viewing by 16-34s coming via streaming
  • Police corruption documentary To Catch a Copper had nearly 150 million streaming viewer minutes over three parts. Across broadcast and streaming, it has reached 1 million 16-34-year-olds - 60% of whom watched via streaming  
  • The Push: Murder on the Cliff – a powerful two-part series on the murder trial that followed the death of Fawziyah Javed - recorded 190 million streaming viewer minutes across two episodes in the 28-day period. Overall, 44% of viewing came from streaming, rising to 68% for 16-34s  

Other popular shows since the start of the year – also within a 28-day consolidation window - include reality juggernaut MAFS Australia, with 1.4 billion streaming viewer minutes for series 11, much loved returner The Great Pottery Throwdown, which recorded 362 million viewer minutes, critically-acclaimed thriller Truelove, which sparked debate over assisted dying and registered 241 million streaming viewer minutes, and definitive documentary series The Rise and Fall of Boris Johnson with 141 million viewer minutes.

Channel 4’s Chief Content Officer Ian Katz said: “I’m delighted to see our streaming-first strategy delivering across genres. In last the few months we’ve had a hugely successful run of factual programming combining purpose and scale. Several of these shows have used the appeal of true crime stories to tackle big topics - like police malpractice, honour killing and debates about the justice system - through projects that are genuinely revelatory and innovative, and get people of all ages talking. This data shows a really strong start to what will be a transformative year, after we laid out our Fast Forward strategy and began reengineering our business to become a genuinely digital-first public service streamer.”

March was Channel 4’s biggest streaming month since BARB started recording in November 2021 and beat the channel’s previous record from October 2023. The March 2024 total of 6.9 billion viewer minutes compares to March 2023 total of 4.9 billion viewer minutes. The 18% growth in viewer minutes among 16 to 34-year-olds represents an increase from 3.2bn in Q1 2023 Q1 to 3.8bn in Q1 2024.


Notes to Editors

Channel 4 streaming has more than 30 million registered users.

Barb is the broadcast industry’s standard for determining what people are watching, integrating people-based panel data with census-level online viewing data


About Channel 4 

Channel 4 exists to create change through entertainment. Publicly owned yet commercially funded, Channel 4 generates significant and sustainable cultural, economic and social impact across the UK – at no cost to the taxpayer.  

The broadcaster’s distinctive remit is set by Parliament, and it has a role to represent unheard voices, challenge with purpose and reinvent entertainment. For more than 40 years, it has been a British success story, engaging generation after generation of young people. 

With a unique publisher-broadcaster model, Channel 4 commissions its content from the UK independent production sector. Working with hundreds of creative companies every year, Channel 4 makes a major contribution to the local, regional and national economy, creating and supporting thousands of jobs and businesses across the country.  

In 2024, Channel 4 launched its Fast Forward strategy to accelerate its transformation into an agile and genuinely digital-first public service streamer by 2030. It is designed to ensure Channel 4 embraces the generational shift in TV viewing, elevates its impact across the UK and stands out in a crowded market. 

From its bases in London, Leeds, Manchester, Bristol and Glasgow, Channel 4 is fully committed to harnessing the power of its regional structure to increase its impact across the UK. Through its training and development initiative 4Skills is opening up opportunities in broadcasting, with a particular focus on disadvantaged young people and addressing skills gaps across the Nations and Regions. 4Skills invests £5m in training, development and learning opportunities annually and this will double to £10m by 2025. 

Channel 4 has the UK’s biggest free streaming service. Through Film4 Productions, Channel 4 also invests in British filmmakers to huge critical acclaim, producing 43 Oscar wins and 97 BAFTA wins in its history.