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Channel 4 launches plans to become ‘public service streamer’

Channel 4

Channel 4 launches plans to become ‘public service streamer’

Channel 4 today unveiled a five-year strategy to reshape the organisation…

The proposals will accelerate the broadcaster’s transformation into an ‘agile, genuinely digital-first public service streamer by 2030’ they note. The strategy – called Fast Forward – will ensure Channel 4 embraces the generational shift that is taking place in TV viewing, to elevate its impact across the UK and stand out in a world of global entertainment conglomerates and social media giants.

Alex Mahon, CEO:

“Channel 4 was designed to be ahead of the curve and has never stood still. The rate of change in our market is only speeding up. Our new strategy will accelerate our digital transformation – building on 2020’s Future4 strategy and our founding public service principles – so Channel 4 remains a trusted, disruptive and distinctive brand into the 2030s, offering brilliant shows that people love and that matter.”

Fast Forward is designed to get Channel 4 into the right shape for the 2030s and protect its long-term sustainability: focusing investment in distinctive, streaming-friendly British content and social media; growing diversified revenue streams; and reengineering the business to become leaner, simpler and nimbler, divesting from legacy operations to support digital priorities.

In 2020, Channel 4 launched its Future4 strategy to shift its focus from traditional broadcasting to digital. It is now leading its peers, with digital revenues accounting for 27% of total revenues last year – compared to around 10% amongst other commercial broadcasters in the UK and abroad. Channel 4 aims to increase this to 30% in 2024 and pass the tipping point of 50% by 2030. It has also successfully expanded non-advertising revenue to represent 10% of total revenues and, in streaming, viewing time grew by 24% in 2023.

Alex Mahon, CEO:

“We are genuinely excited about the future. Channel 4 means something to British people – we are trusted, we are a beacon for quality, we stand out for fresh and exciting ideas that matter and will be even more important in a crowded landscape of global content.”

The Fast Forward strategy will build on this momentum and support Channel 4 into the 2030s, ensuring it reaches and inspires new generations of viewers, delivers its public service remit, and sustains its long-term future as a relevant and rebellious force in British creative and cultural life.

Alex Mahon, CEO:

“While getting ourselves into the right shape for the future is without doubt the right action to take, it does involve making difficult decisions. I am very sad that some of our excellent colleagues will lose their jobs because of the changes ahead. But the reality of the rapid downshift in the UK economy and advertising market demand that we must change structurally.

“As we shift our centre of gravity from linear to digital our proposals will focus cost reductions on legacy activity. In preparing for a new digital-first future, I hope we can make Channel 4 simpler – for staff and our suppliers – and create a more efficient, inclusive and high performing organisation.”

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