Advanced Television

Channel 4 grows streaming and linear audiences in H1

June 24, 2024

BARB data shows Channel 4 is the only major UK broadcaster to grow overall viewing across streaming and linear in 2024. In addition, across the first half of the year, Channel 4’s streaming audience has grown faster than any of the major streaming-only platforms (Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+), with a 32 per cent year on year rise in viewer minutes.

The data for January to June 2024 reveals the channel is successfully growing its overall audience while migrating viewers to streaming, as it sets out to become the first public service streamer.

The figures show Channel 4 streaming has grown by 7.3 billion viewer minutes so far in 2024 (up 32 per cent year on year), contributing to a 4 billion increase in overall viewing minutes across linear and streaming and a record high of 164 billion viewer minutes. That represents a 2.5 per cent year-on-year increase, while BARB data shows major commercial broadcasters (BBC, ITV, Channel 5, Sky, UKTV) on average posted a 3 per cent year on year drop in overall viewing minutes.

In addition, the proportion of total Channel 4 viewing via streaming continues to rise, up 29 per cent year on year so far across 2024. Some 40 per cent of Channel 4’s 16-34 viewing this year has come via streaming.

The growth is reflected in Channel 4’s commercial activity, where recent data (from January 2023) showed digital revenues now account for 27 per cent of Channel 4’s total revenues– compared to around 10 per cent amongst other commercial broadcasters in the UK and abroad.

Driving the streaming growth are a raft of hits, with eight shows attracting more than three million average views across streaming and linear combined: Gogglebox (4.8 million), 24 Hours In Police Custody (4.5 million), The Push: Murder On The Cliff (3. 5million) and To Catch a Copper (3.2 million). Additionally, streaming is fast becoming the go-to for Channel 4 viewers – with more than a dozen hits in 2024 attracting a bigger streaming audience compared with linear, including The Jury: Murder Trial which attracted a consolidated 28 day audience of 2.2millon streaming views versus 1.1 million linear overnights.

For the month of May, Channel 4’s year-on-year increase in total viewing was 6 per cent. This was fuelled by a 21 per cent year on year rise in streaming minutes viewed– outpacing the 10 per cent year on year rise posted on average across all commercial PSBs.

Contributing to the growth in May was drama series The Gathering (pictured), with episode one securing a consolidated 28-day audience of 3.2 million across all platforms, with 46 per cent of viewing coming from streaming. Reality hit Dance Moms was the third most streamed programme on Channel 4, with 31 per cent of viewing having come from 16-34s.

The data follows March’s record month, Channel 4’s biggest streaming month since BARB started recording streaming data in November 2021. Channel 4’s streaming audience grew 22 per cent year-on-year in April – with a total of 6.5 billion viewer minutes.

The release of full-length episodes of Channel 4 programming via YouTube is a further growth area. Across 2024 so far, such content generated 42.1 million UK Views, up 276 per cent year on year.

Ian Katz, chief content officer, Channel 4, commented: “It’s great to see Channel 4’s long-term strategy of prioritising digital viewing and investing in distinctive, British streaming-first content bearing fruit. This data shows that, even in a challenging market, we can successfully grow our overall audience by attracting new digital natives and migrating existing viewers to digital platforms. At the heart of this is our streaming-first content strategy – a unique blend of distinctive drama such as The Gathering, must watch documentaries like The Push and The Fall plus compulsive reality such as Married At First Sight. Channel 4 pioneered the transition to streaming among commercial broadcasters and these figures show we are accelerating our transition to becoming Britain’s first public service streamer.”

Categories: Articles, Broadcast, Consumer Behaviour, OTT, Research, VOD

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