C4 to release long-form content to YouTube

By Julian Clover
October 15, 2009 17.48 UK

YouTube and Channel 4 have signed a pioneering deal that will bring some of the networks most popular shows from its 4oD service to the video site shortly after their linear transmission.

Programmes including Skins, Hollyoaks, The Inbetweeners and Peep Show will be available in full and free of charge to UK viewers from a Channel 4 branded area. A total of 3,000 hours will be available at any one time with Channel 4 selling advertising around the content. The first programmes will appear over the next few months with the service going fully live by early 2010.

“Channel 4 was the first broadcaster anywhere in the world to make all its commissioned content available online and we’ve consistently pioneered in this field,” said Channel 4 chief executive Andy Duncan. “Making our programmes directly accessible to YouTube’s 20 million UK users will financially benefit both Channel 4 and our independent production partners and help bolster our investment in quality British content.”

It is the first time that a broadcaster from anywhere in the world has signed such a deal with YouTube and marks the entry of the video site into a market where it will compete with SeeSaw and Hulu.

Patrick Walker, YouTube’s director of partnerships, anticipated similar agreements in the future. “We know that the YouTube community is enthusiastic about full-length programming on the site, and we’ve been working hard to create the right environment for more broadcasters to make their content available with the right branding, the right advertising formats and the right level of control over advertising sales.”

The deal is non-exclusive, allowing Channel 4 to continue distributing its content via own site, and through other partners such as the Apple iTunes Store.