Young viewers flock to Channel 4 during lockdown

Category: News Release
  • Channel 4 is the only commercial public service broadcaster to have increased its 16-34 audience across both daytime and peak-time
  • Best March performance in seven years for main channel among young viewers
  • Channel 4 has won the Friday night slot for youngs every week in lockdown

Young viewers have flocked to Channel 4 since lockdown began with its viewing share amongst 16-34-year olds up +19% in peak-time over the lock down period (23 March onward) and up +11% in daytime.   Channel 4 is the only commercial public service broadcaster to have increased gains with young viewers across both day-parts.

16-34-year-old audiences are turning to TV in huge numbers with all-day linear viewing among Channel 4’s key young demographic up +29% for volume, while share of youngs has increased +11% YoY. In the first four weeks of lockdown alone, young viewing volume increased a massive 29% - the biggest increase of any commercial PSB.

The success has been driven by a range of programmes including Channel 4 News – which has increased its young viewing share by 60% - and many of the current affairs programmes Channel 4 has broadcast to respond to the Covid-19 crisis such as Coronavirus: How To Isolate Yourself and Coronavirus: Can You Avoid It, as well as lockdown shows like Jamie Oliver’s Keep Cooking and Carry On.

There have been record young audiences coming to Gogglebox (hitting 46% 16-34 viewing share), Friday Night Dinner has achieved the biggest ever young share for a comedy on Channel 4 (49% 16-34 share); and Celebrity Bake Off drew its highest young share on Channel 4 to date (47%). 

As the youngest-skewing PSB, Channel 4 also saw its best March performance in seven years for the main channel amongst 16-34-year-old audiences with an overall average of 8.06% share over the month.

The data also shows that nearly half (47%) of the youngest skewing broadcasts during lockdown came from Channel 4 or E4, whilst nine out of the top 20 16-34 programmes for volume across all channels came from Channel 4, excluding news specials.

Ian Katz, Director of Programmes at Channel 4 said: “With huge audience increases across the whole of the TV marketplace, more and more young people have been turning to TV as a method of both distraction and entertainment and at Channel 4 we have been working hard to respond  to those needs. Reaching this audience is part of our core mission at all times and I’m particularly proud that young people are coming to us in increasing numbers, throughout the day, during this unique moment in history.”

Channel 4 has also used its reach with young audiences to help deliver vital public health messaging through the lockdown period. The channel’s #StayAtHome digital on-screen graphic message has been seen by an average 64% of 16-34s on average eight times, across Channel 4’s channels.

While other activity includes a #ClapForOurCarers ad break takeover that saw 39 advertisers join together to thank the NHS, a ‘cheeky’ brand film encouraging viewers to stay at home on their arses, and a series of films, self-shot by a host of well-known Channel 4 faces revealing the mundane tasks they’re undertaking at home during lockdown.

All 4 has achieved its highest number of quarterly views ever across Q1 of this year. Views during the nation’s first two weeks of lockdown increased by a significant 30% compared with the same period last year among 16-34-year olds with almost 80% of all 16-34s registered with All 4 in the UK.


*The most recent week of viewing data is not fully consolidated, taking account of time-shifted viewing on a television over a seven-day period.

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