Advanced Television

Channel 4’s Hollyoaks online even earlier

September 8, 2023

By Nik Roseveare

Hollyoaks, the Channel 4 soap, is now offering fans the chance to catch all the new drama online even sooner, making episodes available to stream the day before they are broadcast on E4. Additionally, for the first time, new episodes will also be available to watch on YouTube the week after streaming and broadcast on E4.

Channel 4 says Hollyoaks is taking a more relevant digital-focused drop pattern to meet how young audiences find and watch content. Hollyoaks’s third viewing window will move from Channel 4’s linear channel to YouTube as the show becomes the UK’s first national digital-led soap. In 2023, 64 per cent of viewers have watched the soap via streaming or E4, resulting in 556 million minutes of the show being streamed in the first half of the year. The weekly omnibus will continue to be broadcast on Channel 4.

The move underscores Channel 4‘s ambitious pioneering digital approach to lead the way in meeting and driving young people’s changing viewer behaviours and reflects the increasing appetite for drama on demand.

Hollyoaks, because of its young demographic, is already at the forefront with a stream-first model with pre-TX views up +53 per cent on the equivalent period last year, accompanied by a linear TX on youth channel, E4. This move builds on the success of Channel 4’s approach to releasing young-skewing shows such as Married at First Sight UK and Married at First Sight Australia, which has resulted in record viewing on Channel 4 streaming this year.

The new schedule pattern launches on September 25th alongside a stunt week of standout storylines set to grip audiences. The week kicks off with a one hour special where viewers will see the love triangle between Felix, his girlfriend Mercedes and best friend Warren reach an explosive turning point and elsewhere there’s murder twists and turns, as a disturbing secret is uncovered about influencer Rayne, that could ultimately lead to her downfall.

Channel 4’s Chief Content Officer, Ian Katz said: “Hollyoaks has always been the youngest and most innovative soap so it’s fitting that it should be the first to embrace the changes in the behaviour of younger viewers and switch to a genuinely digital-led release pattern. It was the first UK soap to move to a stream-first model last year and this is the next phase of that evolution. We hope making Hollyoaks available on YouTube, as well as our own platforms, will introduce a whole new generation to the show.”

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