Channel 4’s bold new channel aimed at reinventing catch-up television will launch on all the main UK digital television platforms on July 4, it has been confirmed.
In March, Channel 4 chief executive David Abraham announced 4seven, a new network which will allow viewers to recap on the Channel 4 shows that have caused the most online “buzz” over the past seven days.
For example, active discussion around shows such as Big Fat Gypsy Weddings or US drama Homeland on social media, blogs and online forums would give those programmes another spin on 4seven.
The channel will launch across all major television platforms on July 4, Channel 4 has confirmed. Channel numbers for Virgin Media and Freesat are not yet known, but it is thought that 4seven will launch at channel 47 on Freeview in post-digital switchover areas, and replace More4 +2 on Sky at position 269 on the EPG.
4seven was met with a decidedly mixed response from Digital Spy readers in March, with many saying that there are already enough ways to catch up on programmes after their live broadcast, including on-demand platform 4oD and personal video recorder (PVR) services, such as Sky+, Freeview+ and Virgin Media TiVo.
However, viewing via video on-demand, PVRs and other means only makes up a relatively small percentage of overall TV viewing, as the majority is still done live while the viewers are sat on the couch with the remote control.
Moreover, many viewers still claim that they are missing the major TV programmes, particularly older audiences, which is a real issue for broadcasters who have invested in the content.
4seven will ensure Channel 4 shows are given maximum chances to reach their audience, but the network is also about more closely integrating the online “buzz” around programmes with the broadcast networks, even incorporating this into the look and feel of 4seven.
Discussing the new approach to catch-up TV in March, David Abraham said: “It’s a variation which we think goes with the grain of increased optionality but that combines the continued strengths of digital TV with the opportunities of social media.
“As such we hope that it will be an example of how the TV network will continue to adapt and evolve in order to survive in this most revolutionary of decades for media consumption.”