12 APR 2024

Young audiences and crime fueled a 40% growth and broke records for Channel 4 streaming

The company recorded its best month for streaming, reaching 6.9 billion viewer minutes.

12 APR 2024

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Channel 4 delivered its biggest ever month of streaming in March, with viewing up 40% year-on-year to 6.9 billion viewer minutes, boosted by growth from young viewers and a trio of noisy, new factual hits that got the nation talking. BARB data for the first quarter of 2024 – published as the channel pursues its fast forward strategy to become a public service streamer – shows that 18% of all Channel 4 viewing now comes from streaming, underlining the channel’s pioneering and industry-leading shift to a digital-first model.

The industry data reveals 18% growth in viewer minutes among 16 to 34-year-olds in Q1 2024 compared to Q1 2023, and that Channel 4 remained the youngest profiling PSB streaming player, with 27% of viewing from young audiences. Amongst 16-34s, 38% of all Channel 4 viewing is now streamed, compared to 29% in Q1 2023. Documentaries and “constructed factual” showed touching on real crime stories featured prominently in the quarter, with three new shows -“The Jury: Murder Trial”, “To Catch a Copper” and “The Push: Murder on the Cliff”– crashing into the top 10 streaming viewer minutes for both 16-34s and all individuals, within a 28-day consolidation window.

“The Jury: Murder Trial” became Channel 4’s biggest factual launch since Benefits Street in 2014. The four-part series registered 214 million streaming viewer minutes in the 28-day period. The show averaged 3 million viewers across broadcast and streaming, with 60% of viewing by 16-34s coming via streaming.

Police corruption documentary “To Catch a Copper” had nearly 150 million streaming viewer minutes over three parts. Across broadcast and streaming, it has reached 1 million 16-34-year-olds - 60% of whom watched via streaming.

“The Push: Murder on the Cliff” recorded 190 million streaming viewer minutes across two episodes in the 28-day period. Overall, 44% of viewing came from streaming, rising to 68% for 16-34s.

Other popular shows since the start of the year, also within a 28-day consolidation window, include reality “MAFS Australia”, with 1.4 billion streaming viewer minutes for series 11; returner “The Great Pottery Throwdown”, which recorded 362 million viewer minutes; thriller “Truelove”, which sparked debate over assisted dying and registered 241 million streaming viewer minutes; and documentary series “The Rise and Fall of Boris Johnson” with 141 million viewer minutes.

Channel 4’s Chief Content Officer Ian Katz said: “I’m delighted to see our streaming-first strategy delivering across genres. In the last few months, we’ve had a hugely successful run of factual programming combining purpose and scale. Several of these shows have used the appeal of true crime stories to tackle big topics - like police malpractice, honour killing and debates about the justice system - through projects that are genuinely revelatory and innovative, and get people of all ages talking. This data shows a really strong start to what will be a transformative year, after we laid out our fast forward strategy and began reengineering our business to become a genuinely digital-first public service streamer.”

March was Channel 4’s biggest streaming month since BARB started recording in November 2021 and beat the channel’s previous record from October 2023. The March 2024 total of 6.9 billion viewer minutes compares to March 2023 total of 4.9 billion viewer minutes. The 18% growth in viewer minutes among 16 to 34-year-olds represents an increase from 3.2bn in Q1 2023 Q1 to 3.8bn in Q1 2024.