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Channel 4 replacing 4oD with All 4

Barry Collins
26 Mar 2015
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Channel 4 announces a major revamp of its on-demand service - find out what's happening here

Channel 4 is replacing its long-serving 4oD television catch-up service with a new offering called All 4. The broadcaster insists the changes are more than cosmetic, allowing viewers to watch on-demand shows, catch-up programming and live television from the same app for the first time.

Expert Reviews was given a sneak preview of the All 4 app, which will launch on iOS and PC on Monday. The app is split into three sections: the On-demand section hosts catch-up content from the past week's schedules, as well as "box sets" of past Channel 4 series and newly commissioned "shorts" that are exclusive to the app; the Now section offers live feeds from the company's six stations, and will eventually offer interactive content around those broadcasts; the On Soon section delivers previews of upcoming shows and allows viewers to set reminders for live broadcasts.

The new app will support streaming over both Wi-Fi and 3G/4G, and users can download selected shows to watch later when they might not have access to an internet connection. 

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The trade-off is that Channel 4 is demanding viewers register to watch any of the app's "long-form" content. Channel 4 says this will allow the app to offer a "personal viewing experience" with recommendations based on viewing habits and other personalised content. However, the demographic information provided as part of the registration will also allow Channel 4 to run targeted ads before and midway through on-demand programming, which is a lucrative income stream for the broadcaster. Such advertising saw Channel 4 triple the revenue earned from 4oD over the past five years, according to the company's director of strategy and technology, Keith Underwood.

All of the company's 4oD apps will be rebranded All 4 on Monday, but some platforms won't see the new features until later in the year, most notably Android. Underwood refused to be drawn on why Android, with its much larger user base, was behind iOS in the development queue, but it's likely because Apple's audience is a far more lucrative target for advertisers. 

Underwood said that All 4 would continue to add features, such as games and "social media conversations" throughout the year, describing the app as "the first iteration in a major transformational programme".

 

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