C4 is to put its back catalogue online free of charge â€“ giving viewers the chance to watch every episode of its homegrown shows. From July, more than 4,000 hours of the channel’s archived content â€“ about 10,000 programme titles â€“ will be added to the 4oD catchup service.
The catchup service currently offers viewers programmes for 30 days after they broadcast, and the move could put pressure on the BBC, which offers programmes via its iPlayer service for only seven days after they air.
Some of Channel 4’s content will not be made available online because of rights or legal issues. US shows such as Friends will not be included, nor will Channel 4 News, because some bought-in news clips form part of a rights agreement which only allows the broadcaster to show them up to midnight on the day of transmission.
The archived content will be made available to PC, Mac and Linux operating systems users on a free, streamed basis. Jon Gisby, the director of future media and technology at Channel 4, said: “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. We are extremely proud of the improved service and think the combination of fantastic content that’s easy to find and view will prove compelling for all users.”