Channel 4 to release VOD content for free

By Julian Clover | June 8, 2009

Channel 4 is to make all the archived content on its 4oD website available free-of-charge, the first British broadcaster to do so.
The ad-supported archived content will be available to PC, Mac and Linux users on a free, streamed basis. Once all of the archived content has been placed on the Channel 4 website, the current desktop application will be closed.

“We were the first broadcaster to launch a comprehensive video-on-demand service in 2006 and since that time 4oD has become one of the UK’s most popular VOD brands,” said Jon Gisby, Director of Future Media & Technology at Channel 4, The addition of archived content to 4oD on means we will be the only UK broadcaster to have all of our content available online. We are extremely proud of the new and improved service and think the combination of fantastic content that’s easy to find and view will prove a compelling service for all users.”

Some 4,000 hours will be available at launch including Vic Reeves Big Night Out, Ali G, Camomile Lawn, Who’s Line Is It Anyway?, Father Ted, Queer as Folk, Teachers, Operatunity, Shameless, Location, Location, Location, Grand Designs, Green Wing, Smack the Pony, Bo Selecta and Unreported World.

The change will take place in July, and follows the April relaunch of the 4oD catch-up service, in the wake of the vetoing of Project Kangaroo by the Competition Commission. Were Kangaroo to have gone ahead then 4oD would have been closed and its content folded into the new venture.
Since the April relaunch traffic to the 4oD area of the Channel 4 site has increased by 111%. Mac Users represent 15% of the viewing.

Separately, Cambridge Imaging Systems has established a new company, Screenocean, to manage the sale of clips to third party producers and programme makers from the Channel 4 archive.