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News

Alex Mahon , chief executive of UK PSB Channel 4 , has unveiled a new five-year strategy for the business , Future4 – which will accelerate its pivot to digital and significantly increase both streaming of Channel 4 content and new revenues . Channel 4 says this will underpin the organisation ’ s commercial selfsufficiency and its reach – ensuring its continued ability to deliver distinctive content at scale and meet its unique public service remit in a more competitive digital viewing environment .

The strategy is aimed at driving towards two clear objectives over the next five years : to double the viewing to All 4 and to deliver 30 % of total revenues from digital advertising and 10 % from non-advertising . Future4 has four key pillars : 1 . Prioritise digital growth over linear ratings 2 . Put viewers at the heart of decision making 3 . Diversify new revenue streams to underpin sustainability 4 . Focus on strategic partnerships to compete more effectively “ Since it was founded , Channel 4 has invested over £ 11 billion in original British television and we have always been different from other media companies in the way we play our role in that thriving economy ,” stated Mahon . “ But , as we emerge from this pandemic , I believe the need has never been greater for a public service broadcaster like ours : one that can represent the unheard in our society , can challenge misinformation , and can create change through entertainment for all UK viewers and for our creative sector .”
Channel 4 will pivot its content and commissioning strategy to achieve significant growth in digital viewing on AVoD service All 4 and on social – with a clear target of doubling viewing to All 4 over the next five years .
The Future4 strategy builds on the strong success that Channel 4 has already had in transforming its viewing and revenues to digital faster than its commercial competitors . All 4 views are up + 27 % across 2020 , with one billion views already achieved across all platforms this year . During the first lockdown period ( 23 March to 3 July ), All 4 views grew by + 54 %, with rate of growth comparable to SVoDs such as Netflix .

Channel 4 unveils Future4 digital-first strategy

Going forwards , all of Channel 4 ’ s commissioning , scheduling and commercial strategy will be optimised towards growing views
“ Since it was founded , Channel 4 has invested over £ 11 billion in original British television .”
and revenue on All 4 – with a much greater focus on investing in content that can deliver longterm digital viewing growth . Channel 4 will also step up its commitment to original short form content distributed on social media .
In supporting its pivot to digital , Channel 4 says it must better understand its audience and their needs in a much more complex and dynamic market and become much more viewer-centric . The business will roll-out a much more sophisticated data-led targeting model to inform its content , marketing and product development strategy .
Channel 4 already has 24m registered users of All 4 and , with viewers ’ consent , can use first-party data to personalise the experience of viewers on the service , from content recommendations to product features . Recently , this viewer data has been augmented further with deeper attitudinal research , and through the organisation ’ s new digital hub 4Studio , will also be adding further insight and understanding of social media habits .
This data will be used across the organisation to place the viewer more effectively at the heart
of every decision – helping to better inform how Channel 4 commissions , schedules , plans ,
Ofcom : BT & Openreach “ making good progress ”
UK comms regulator Ofcom has published its annual monitoring report on the progress towards delivering a more independent Openreach , the digital infrastructure subsidiary of dominant telco BT .
In 2017 , BT notified Ofcom of its voluntary commitments to reform Openreach . This included Openreach becoming a legally separate entity with its own board , management and staff . In 2018 BT notified Ofcom that the steps to fully implement legal separation had been completed and the regulator has been monitoring how the arrangements have been working in practice closely .
The report finds that the parties are making good progress . BT has increased its full fibre ambitions since the last report , while Openreach continues to develops its products , markets and sells . In marketing and product development , this will help to achieve better targeted delivery of content , and over time will inform the brand development of Channel 4 ’ s linear and digital services .
To maintain the resilience of Channel 4 ’ s commercial model , which funds the organisation ’ s investment in content and the delivery of its purpose and remit , the Future4 strategy will focus on increased innovation through Channel 4 ’ s core commercial products and diversifying revenue beyond advertising . Channel 4 has set a clear target to deliver 30 % of total revenues from digital advertising and 10 % from non-advertising by 2025 .
This will build on the strong track record in digital and data innovation that Channel 4 has already demonstrated in growing its digital revenue base , with digital advertising accounting for 14 % of total corporation revenue in 2019 and on-track to grow to 17 % in 2020 – ahead of commercial peers in UK and Europe . All digital revenues , including syndication of All 4 , are set to grow from 17 % of total revenue to 20 % in 2020 . Core commercial innovation will also include expansion of Channel 4 ’ s data-matched digital advertising products and the roll-out of addressable advertising on linear services through partnerships including Sky ’ s AdSmart . Channel 4 will also accelerate the take up of All 4 +, the ad-free version of its on-demand service , with new content , features and product enhancements .
build new connections at pace . Generally , the feedback from industry during the monitoring suggests Openreach is also improving its engagement with its wholesale customers . However , Ofcom recognises some stakeholders would like to see further improvements including in areas such as duct and poles access .
According to Ofcom , it is important both BT and Openreach continue their commitment to ensure further progress is made and that these improvements are sustainable over the long term . Ofcom will continue monitoring the arrangements carefully and welcomes evidence from stakeholders on their experiences of working with BT and Openreach .
“ We ’ re encouraged that Ofcom recognise the progress Openreach is making as a business and , in particular , how our amazing engineers have responded to the Coronavirus pandemic ,” commented Mark Shurmer , managing director of regulatory affairs at Openreach .
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