Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
Channel 4

Channel 4

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Channel 4'
Start a new discussion about 'Channel 4'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Channel 4 is a British public-service
Public service broadcasting in the United Kingdom
In the United Kingdom the term "public service broadcasting" refers to broadcasting intended for the public benefit rather than for purely commercial concerns. The communications regulator Ofcom, requires that certain television and radio broadcasters fulfil certain requirements as part of their...

 television
Television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

 broadcaster which began working on 2 November 1982. Although largely commercially self-funded, it is ultimately publicly owned; originally a subsidiary of the Independent Broadcasting Authority
Independent Broadcasting Authority
The Independent Broadcasting Authority was the regulatory body in the United Kingdom for commercial television - and commercial/independent radio broadcasts...

 (IBA), the station is now owned and operated by the Channel Four Television Corporation, a public body established in 1990, coming into operation in 1993. With the conversion of the Wenvoe transmitter in Wales to digital on 31 March 2010, Channel 4 became an entirely UK-wide TV channel for the first time.

The channel was established to provide a fourth television service to the United Kingdom in addition to the television licence
Television licence
A television licence is an official licence required in many countries for the reception of television broadcasts...

-funded BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

's two services and the single commercial broadcasting network, ITV
ITV
ITV is the major commercial public service TV network in the United Kingdom. Launched in 1955 under the auspices of the Independent Television Authority to provide competition to the BBC, it is also the oldest commercial network in the UK...

.

Public service remit


Channel 4 was established with, and continues to hold, a remit of public service obligations which it must fulfil. The remit changes periodically, as dictated by various broadcasting and communications acts, and is regulated by the various authorities Channel 4 has been answerable to; originally the IBA, then the ITC
Independent Television Commission
The Independent Television Commission licensed and regulated commercial television services in the United Kingdom between 1 January 1991 and 28 December 2003....

 and now Ofcom
Ofcom
Ofcom is the government-approved regulatory authority for the broadcasting and telecommunications industries in the United Kingdom. Ofcom was initially established by the Office of Communications Act 2002. It received its full authority from the Communications Act 2003...

.

The preamble of the remit as per the Communications Act 2003
Communications Act 2003
The Communications Act 2003 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It gave regulation body Ofcom its full powers. Among other measures, it introduced legal recognition of Community Radio and paved the way for full-time Community Radio services in the UK; as well as controversially...

 states that:


"The public service remit for Channel 4 is the provision of a broad range of high quality and diverse programming which, in particular:
  • demonstrates innovation, experiment and creativity in the form and content of programmes;
  • appeals to the tastes and interests of a culturally diverse society;
  • makes a significant contribution to meeting the need for the licensed public service channels to include programmes of an educational nature and other programmes of educative value; and
  • exhibits a distinctive character."



The remit also involves an obligation to provide programming for schools, and a substantial amount of programming produced outside of Greater London
Greater London
Greater London is the top-level administrative division of England covering London. It was created in 1965 and spans the City of London, including Middle Temple and Inner Temple, and the 32 London boroughs. This territory is coterminate with the London Government Office Region and the London...

.

Channel Four Television Corporation


As an organisation, Channel 4 is known as the Channel Four Television Corporation (sometimes abbreviated to C4C), a statutory corporation
Statutory Corporation
A statutory corporation or public body is a corporation created by statute. While artificial legal personality is almost always the result of statutory intervention, a statutory corporation does not include corporations owned by shareholders whose legal personality derives from being registered...

, though this form is more recent than the station itself, having previously been the Channel Four Television Company Limited, a subsidiary of the IBA
Independent Broadcasting Authority
The Independent Broadcasting Authority was the regulatory body in the United Kingdom for commercial television - and commercial/independent radio broadcasts...

, between 1982 and 1993.

Towards the end of the 1980s, the government began a radical process of re-organisation of the commercial broadcasting industry, which was written onto the statute books by means of the Broadcasting Act 1990
Broadcasting Act 1990
The Broadcasting Act 1990 is a law of the British parliament, often regarded by both its supporters and its critics as a quintessential example of Thatcherism. The aim of the Act was to reform the entire structure of British broadcasting; British television, in particular, had earlier been...

. Significantly, this meant the abolition of the IBA, and hence the Channel Four Television Company. The result led to the creation of a corporation to own and operate the channel, which would have a greater deal of autonomy and would eventually go on to establish its other operations. The new corporation, which became operational in 1993, remained publicly owned and was regulated by the new Independent Television Commission
Independent Television Commission
The Independent Television Commission licensed and regulated commercial television services in the United Kingdom between 1 January 1991 and 28 December 2003....

 (ITC), created under the same act. The ITC and its duties were later replaced by Ofcom
Ofcom
Ofcom is the government-approved regulatory authority for the broadcasting and telecommunications industries in the United Kingdom. Ofcom was initially established by the Office of Communications Act 2002. It received its full authority from the Communications Act 2003...

, which like its predecessor is responsible for appointing the Corporation's board, in agreement with the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
The Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport is a United Kingdom cabinet position with responsibility for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The role was created in 1992 by John Major as Secretary of State for National Heritage...

.

In terms of the station's remit and other duties, the creation of the corporation meant little change; the new corporation would have to manage its own advertising, rather than this being carried out on its behalf by the local ITV contractors (see Funding).

Wales



At the time the fourth service was being considered, a movement in Wales lobbied for the creation of dedicated service that would air Welsh-language programmes, then only catered for at 'off peak' times on BBC Wales
BBC Wales
BBC Cymru Wales is a division of the British Broadcasting Corporation for Wales. Based at Broadcasting House in the Llandaff area of Cardiff, it directly employs over 1200 people, and produces a broad range of television, radio and online services in both the Welsh and English languages.Outside...

 and HTV. The campaign was taken so seriously by Gwynfor Evans
Gwynfor Evans
Dr Richard Gwynfor Evans , was a Welsh politician, lawyer and author. President of Plaid Cymru for thirty six years, he was the first Member of Parliament to represent Plaid Cymru at Westminster ....

, former president of Plaid Cymru
Plaid Cymru
' is a political party in Wales. It advocates the establishment of an independent Welsh state within the European Union. was formed in 1925 and won its first seat in 1966...

, that he threatened the government with a hunger strike were it not to honour the plans.

The result was that Channel 4 as seen by the rest of the United Kingdom would be replaced in Wales by Sianel Pedwar Cymru (S4C) (Channel Four Wales). Operated by a specially created Welsh Fourth Channel Authority
Welsh Fourth Channel Authority
The Welsh Fourth Channel Authority regulates S4C , the Welsh-language television station of Wales. It is not connected to Ofcom, or any other regulator, and exists purely to ensure the quality of the channel. The Authority's Chair and members are appointed by the Secretary of State for Culture,...

, S4C would air programmes in Welsh as made by HTV, the BBC, or from independent companies. Initially limited frequency space meant that Channel 4 could not be broadcast alongside S4C, though some English Channel 4 programmes would be aired at less popular times on the Welsh variant, a practice that carried on up until the closure of S4C's analogue transmissions in 2010.

Since then, carriage on digital cable
Cable television
Cable television is a system of providing television programs to consumers via radio frequency signals transmitted to televisions through coaxial cables or digital light pulses through fixed optical fibers located on the subscriber's property, much like the over-the-air method used in traditional...

, satellite
Satellite television
Satellite television is television programming delivered by the means of communications satellite and received by an outdoor antenna, usually a parabolic mirror generally referred to as a satellite dish, and as far as household usage is concerned, a satellite receiver either in the form of an...

 and digital terrestrial has introduced Channel 4 to Welsh homes where it is now universally available.

Conception


Before Channel 4 and S4C, Britain had three terrestrial television services: BBC1
BBC One
BBC One is the flagship television channel of the British Broadcasting Corporation in the United Kingdom. It was launched on 2 November 1936 as the BBC Television Service, and was the world's first regular television service with a high level of image resolution...

, BBC2
BBC Two
BBC Two is the second television channel operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation in the United Kingdom. It covers a wide range of subject matter, but tending towards more 'highbrow' programmes than the more mainstream and popular BBC One. Like the BBC's other domestic TV and radio...

, and ITV. The Broadcasting Act 1980
Broadcasting Act 1980
The Broadcasting Act 1980 was an Act of Parliament in the United Kingdom. It was repealed by the Broadcasting Act 1981, though the provisions of the Act remained in force....

 began the process of adding a fourth, and Channel 4, along with its Welsh counterpart
S4C
S4C , currently branded as S4/C, is a Welsh television channel broadcast from the capital, Cardiff. The first television channel to be aimed specifically at a Welsh-speaking audience, it is the fifth oldest British television channel .The channel - initially broadcast on...

, was formally created by an Act of Parliament
Act of Parliament
An Act of Parliament is a statute enacted as primary legislation by a national or sub-national parliament. In the Republic of Ireland the term Act of the Oireachtas is used, and in the United States the term Act of Congress is used.In Commonwealth countries, the term is used both in a narrow...

 in 1982. After some months of test broadcasts, it began scheduled transmissions on 2 November 1982.

The notion of a second commercial broadcaster in the United Kingdom had been around since the inception of ITV in 1954 and its subsequent launch in 1955; the idea of an 'ITV2' was long expected and pushed for. Indeed television sets sold throughout the 1970s and early 1980s had a spare channel called 'ITV/IBA 2'. Throughout ITV's history
History of ITV
The history of ITV, the United Kingdom "Independent Television" commercial network, goes back to 1954.-The early years: 1954–1963:After much debate both in the British Parliament and the British Press, the Television Act became law in 1954...

 and until Channel 4 finally became a reality, a perennial dialogue existed between the GPO, the government, the ITV companies and other interested parties, concerning the form such an expansion of commercial broadcasting would take. It was most likely politics which had the biggest impact in leading to a delay of almost three decades before the second commercial channel became a reality. With what can crudely be summed up as a clash of ideologies between an expansion of ITV's commercial
Commercial broadcasting
Commercial broadcasting is the broadcasting of television programs and radio programming by privately owned corporate media, as opposed to state sponsorship...

 ethos and a public service approach more akin to the BBC, it was ultimately something of a compromise that eventually led to the formation of Channel 4 as launched in 1982.

One clear benefit of the 'late arrival' of the channel was that its frequency allocations at each transmitter had already been arranged in the early 1960s, when the launch of an ITV2 was highly anticipated. This led to very good coverage across most of the country and few problems of interference with other UK-based transmissions; a stark contrast to the problems associated with Channel 5's launch 14 and a half years later.

Launch and IBA control: 1982–1993


The first voice ever heard on Channel 4's opening day of Tuesday 2 November 1982 was that of continuity announcer Paul Coia
Paul Coia
Paul Coia is a Scottish television presenter and continuity announcer who was the first voice on Channel 4.-Early life and career:...

, who intoned, "Good afternoon. It's a pleasure to be able to say to you: Welcome to Channel Four", before heading into a montage of clips from its programmes set to the station's signature tune, "Fourscore
Fourscore
Fourscore was the signature tune used by Channel 4 in the United Kingdom for 10 years, from 1982 to 1992. It was composed by Lord David Dundas. Various short excerpts from the piece, which were the various orchestrations of the same four note melody, in the key of F Major, were used to accompany...

", written by Lord David Dundas
Lord David Dundas
Lord David Paul Nicholas Dundas is an English musician known for his film and television scoring, having previously had chart success in the rock genre.-Biography:...

, which would form the basis of the station's jingles for its first decade. The first programme to air on the channel was the teatime game show
Game show
A game show is a type of radio or television program in which members of the public, television personalities or celebrities, sometimes as part of a team, play a game which involves answering questions or solving puzzles usually for money and/or prizes...

 Countdown
Countdown (game show)
Countdown is a British game show involving word and number puzzles. It is produced by ITV Studios and broadcast on Channel 4. It is presented by Jeff Stelling, assisted by Rachel Riley, with regular lexicographer Susie Dent. It was the first programme to be aired on Channel 4, and over sixty-five...

, at 16.45 produced by Yorkshire Television
Yorkshire Television
Yorkshire Television, now officially known as ITV Yorkshire and sometimes unofficially abbreviated to YTV, is a British television broadcaster and the contractor for the Yorkshire franchise area on the ITV network...

; it is still running as of 2011. The first person to be seen on Channel 4 was Richard Whiteley
Richard Whiteley
John Richard Whiteley, OBE DL , usually known as Richard Whiteley, was an English broadcaster and journalist. He was famous for his twenty-three years as host of Countdown, a letters and numbers arrangement game show broadcast most weekdays on Channel 4...

 with Carol Vorderman
Carol Vorderman
Carol Jean Vorderman MBE is a British media personality, best known for co-hosting the popular game show Countdown for 26 years from 1982 to 2008. In September 2011 she became a co-anchor of the ITV1 panel show Loose Women....

 being the second and the first female on the channel. Whiteley opened the show with the words "As the countdown to a brand new channel ends, a brand new countdown begins." On its first day, Channel 4 also broadcast controversial soap opera Brookside
Brookside
Brookside is a defunct British soap opera set in Liverpool, England. The series began on the launch night of Channel 4 on 2 November 1982, and ran for 21 years until 4 November 2003...

, which ran for 21 years.

On its launch, Channel 4 committed itself to providing an alternative to the existing channels, an agenda in part set out by its remit which required the provision of programming to minority groups.

In step with its remit, the channel became well received both by minority groups and the arts and cultural worlds during this period, especially under Isaacs, where the channel gained a reputation for programmes on the contemporary arts. Channel 4 co-commissioned Robert Ashley
Robert Ashley
Robert Ashley , is a contemporary American composer, best known for his operas and other theatrical works, many of which incorporate electronics and extended techniques. Along with Gordon Mumma, Ashley was also a major pioneer of audio synthesis.Ashley was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan...

's ground-breaking television opera 'Perfect Lives', which it premiered over several episodes in 1984. The channel often did not receive mass audiences for much of this period, however, as might be expected for a station focusing on minority interest.

Channel 4 also began the funding of independent films, such as the Merchant-Ivory docudrama
Docudrama
In film, television programming and staged theatre, docudrama is a documentary-style genre that features dramatized re-enactments of actual historical events. As a neologism, the term is often confused with docufiction....

 The Courtesans of Bombay
The Courtesans of Bombay
The Courtesans of Bombay is a 1983 British docudrama directed by Ismail Merchant. A collaboration by Merchant, James Ivory, and Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, the film focuses on a Bombay compound known as Pavan Pool, where women aspiring to work in the entertainment industry dance for donations from a male...

, during this time.

In 1992, Channel 4 also faced its first libel case by Jani Allan
Jani Allan
Jani Allan is a South African columnist and radio commentator. She became a household name as a columnist for the Sunday Times where she worked between 1979-90. She is also known for her alleged affair with an interviewee, the late right-wing political leader Eugène Terre'Blanche...

, a South African journalist, who objected to her representation in the documentary The Leader, His Driver and the Driver's Wife
The Leader, His Driver and the Driver's Wife
The Leader, His Driver and the Driver's Wife is a 1991 British feature-length documentary film set during the final days of the apartheid regime in South Africa, particularly centering on Eugène Terre'Blanche, founder and leader of the far-right, white supremacist political organisation AWB. The...

.

Channel Four Television Corporation: 1993 onwards


After control of the station passed from the Channel Four Television Company to the Channel Four Television Corporation in 1993 (see above), a shift in broadcasting style took place. Instead of aiming for the fringes of society, it began to focus on the edges of the mainstream, and the centre of the mass market itself. It began to show many US programmes in peak viewing time, far more than it had previously done. It premièred such shows as Friends
Friends
Friends is an American sitcom created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, which aired on NBC from September 22, 1994 to May 6, 2004. The series revolves around a group of friends in Manhattan. The series was produced by Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions, in association with Warner Bros. Television...

and ER
ER (TV series)
ER is an American medical drama television series created by novelist Michael Crichton that aired on NBC from September 19, 1994 to April 2, 2009. It was produced by Constant c Productions and Amblin Entertainment, in association with Warner Bros. Television...

.

In the early 2000s, Channel Four began broadcasting reality formats such as Big Brother
Big Brother (UK)
Big Brother UK is the British version of the Dutch Big Brother television format, which takes its name from the character in George Orwell's 1948 novel Nineteen Eighty-Four...

and obtained the rights to broadcast mass appeal sporting events like cricket
Cricket
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players on an oval-shaped field, at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. One team bats, trying to score as many runs as possible while the other team bowls and fields, trying to dismiss the batsmen and thus limit the...

 and horse racing
Horse racing
Horse racing is an equestrian sport that has a long history. Archaeological records indicate that horse racing occurred in ancient Babylon, Syria, and Egypt. Both chariot and mounted horse racing were events in the ancient Greek Olympics by 648 BC...

. This new direction increased ratings and revenues.

In addition, the channel launched a number of new television channels through its new 4Ventures off-shoot, including Film4, At The Races, E4 and More4 (see Other services).

Partially in reaction to its new 'populist' direction, the Communications Act 2003
Communications Act 2003
The Communications Act 2003 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It gave regulation body Ofcom its full powers. Among other measures, it introduced legal recognition of Community Radio and paved the way for full-time Community Radio services in the UK; as well as controversially...

 directed the channel to demonstrate innovation, experimentation and creativity, appeal to the tastes and interests of a culturally diverse society and to include programmes of an educational nature which exhibit a distinctive character.

Under the leadership of Freeview founder Andy Duncan
Andy Duncan (executive)
Andy Duncan was chief executive of Britain's Channel 4 television channel from July 2004 to November 2009, the first not to have a background in programme making. He was previously director of marketing, communications and audiences at the BBC and the founding chairman of Freeview...

, 2005 saw a change of direction for Channel 4's digital channels. Channel 4 made E4 'free to air' on Digital Terrestrial, and launched a new 'free to air' digital channel called More4
More4
More4 is a digital television channel, run by British broadcaster Channel 4, that launched on 10 October 2005. It is carried on Freeview, on satellite broadcasters Freesat and Sky, UK IPTV broadcaster TalkTalk TV and on UK cable network Virgin Media and in the Republic of Ireland cable networks...

. By October, Channel 4 had joined the Freeview consortium. By July 2006, Film4
Film4
Film4 is a free digital television channel available in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, owned and operated by Channel 4, that screens films.-Programming:...

 had also become a 'free to air' and re-started broadcasting on Digital Terrestrial.

In December 31, 2004, Channel 4 launched a new look and new idents in which the logo is disguised as different objects and the 4 can be seen in an angle.

Venturing into radio broadcasting, 2005 saw Channel 4 purchase 51 per cent of shares in the now defunct Oneword
Oneword
Oneword Radio was a British commercial digital radio station featuring books, drama, comedy, children's programming, and discussion. The station was available in the UK via digital radio and digital television and was streamed on the internet 24 hours a day worldwide...

 radio station with UBC Media holding on to the remaining shares. New programmes such as the weekly, half-hour The Morning Report news programme were among some of the new content Channel 4 provided for the station, with the name 4Radio being used. As of early 2009, however, Channel 4's future involvement in radio remained uncertain.

On 2 November 2007, the station celebrated its twenty-fifth birthday. It showed the first episode of Countdown
Countdown (game show)
Countdown is a British game show involving word and number puzzles. It is produced by ITV Studios and broadcast on Channel 4. It is presented by Jeff Stelling, assisted by Rachel Riley, with regular lexicographer Susie Dent. It was the first programme to be aired on Channel 4, and over sixty-five...

, an anniversary Countdown special, as well as a special edition of The Big Fat Quiz and using the original multicoloured 1982-1996 blocks logo on presentation and idents using the Fourscore
Fourscore
Fourscore was the signature tune used by Channel 4 in the United Kingdom for 10 years, from 1982 to 1992. It was composed by Lord David Dundas. Various short excerpts from the piece, which were the various orchestrations of the same four note melody, in the key of F Major, were used to accompany...

 jingle throughout the day.

In November 2009, Channel 4 launched a week of 3D television
3D television
A 3D television is a television set that employs techniques of 3D presentation, such as stereoscopic capture, multi-view capture, or 2D-plus-depth, and a 3D display – a special viewing device to project a television program into a realistic three-dimensional field.- History :In the late-1890's,...

, broadcasting selected programmes each night using stereoscopic ColorCode technology. The accompanying 3D glasses were distributed through Sainsbury's supermarkets.

The future


Channel 4 has raised concerns over how it might finance its public service obligations after digital switch-over. However, some certainty lies in the announcement in April 2006 that Channel 4's digital switch-over costs would be paid for by licence fee revenues.

On 28 March 2007, Channel 4 announced plans to launch a music channel "4Music" as a joint venture with British media company EMAP
EMAP
Emap Limited is a British media company, specialising in the production of business-to-business magazines, and the organisation of business events and conferences...

 which would include carriage on the Freeview platform. On 15 August 2008, 4Music
4Music
4Music is a music and entertainment channel in the United Kingdom and available on some digital television providers in the Republic of Ireland - its web component can be found at with its own and pages. It is the only channel within the Box Television Network to be branded under Channel 4 and...

 was launched across the UK. Recently, Channel 4 have announced interest in launching a high-definition version of Film4 on Freeview, to coincide with the launch of Channel 4 HD, however the fourth HD slot was given to Channel 5 instead. Channel 4 has since acquired a 50% stake in EMAP's TV business for a reported £28 million.

Carriage


Channel 4 was carried from its beginning on analogue terrestrial, which was practically the only means of television broadcast in the United Kingdom at the time. It will continue to be broadcast through these means until the changeover to digital terrestrial television in the United Kingdom
Digital terrestrial television in the United Kingdom
Digital terrestrial television in the United Kingdom encompasses over 100 television, radio and interactive services broadcast via the UK's terrestrial television network and receivable with a standard television aerial...

 is complete. Since 1998, it has been universally available on digital terrestrial, and the Sky platform (encrypted, though free of charge) as well as having been available from various times in various areas, on analogue and digital cable networks.

Due to its special status as a public service broadcaster with a specific remit, it is afforded free carriage on the terrestrial platforms, in contrast with other broadcasters such as ITV.

Channel 4 is also available overseas: parts of the European mainland have been able to receive terrestrial transmissions from the United Kingdom, and some overseas cable networks have carried the service.

Channel 4 Ulster has been available in large parts of Ireland, especially border counties which have been able to receive terrestrial transmissions from Northern Ireland. Channel 4 Ulster has been carried on Irish cable networks since the station went on the air in 1982.
S4C has been available as a terrestrial transmission from Wales in southern counties such as Cork, Waterford, Wexford and Wicklow.

From 4 December 2006 Channel 4 was officially available to Sky viewers in Ireland; some programmes, mainly imports, are not aired on this channel variant, due to Channel 4 not owning the relevant broadcast rights within the country.

Channel 4 allowed Internet users in the United Kingdom to watch Channel 4 live on the Internet. However some programmes (mostly international imports) were not shown and this service no longer exists. Channel 4 is also provided by Virgin Mobile
Virgin Mobile
Virgin Mobile is a brand used by many mobile phone service providers across the globe; its headquarters are based in the United Kingdom. Virgin Mobile has local operations in Australia, Canada, France, India, South Africa, Greece, United Kingdom and the United States. It briefly also had operations...

's DAB
Digital audio broadcasting
Digital Audio Broadcasting is a digital radio technology for broadcasting radio stations, used in several countries, particularly in Europe. As of 2006, approximately 1,000 stations worldwide broadcast in the DAB format....

 mobile TV service which has the same restrictions as the Internet live stream had.

Channel 4 also makes some of its programming available "on demand" via cable and the Internet (see 4oD).

Funding


During the station's formative years, funding came from the ITV companies in return for their right to sell advertisements in their region on the fourth channel.

Nowadays it pays for itself in much the same way as most privately run commercial stations, i.e. through the sale of on-air advertising, programme sponsorship, and the sale of any programme content and merchandising rights it owns, such as overseas sales and video sales. It also has the ability to subsidise the main network through any profits made on the corporation's other endeavours, which have in the past included subscription fees from stations such as E4 and Film4 (now no longer subscription services) and its 'video-on-demand' sales. In practice, however, these other activities are loss-making, and are subsidised by the main network. According to Channel 4's last published accounts, for 2005, the extent of this cross-subsidy was some £30 million.

The change in funding came about under the Broadcasting Act 1990
Broadcasting Act 1990
The Broadcasting Act 1990 is a law of the British parliament, often regarded by both its supporters and its critics as a quintessential example of Thatcherism. The aim of the Act was to reform the entire structure of British broadcasting; British television, in particular, had earlier been...

 when the new corporation was afforded the ability to fund itself. Originally this arrangement left a 'safety net' guaranteed minimum income should the revenue fall too low, funded by large insurance payments made to the ITV companies. Such a subsidy was never required, however, and these premiums were phased out by government in 1998. After the link with ITV was cut, the cross-promotion which had existed between ITV and Channel 4 also ended.

In 2007 due to severe funding difficulties, the channel sought government help and was granted a payment of £14 million over a six-year period. The money would have come from the television licence fee and would have been the first time that money from the licence fee had been given to any broadcaster other than the BBC. The plan was scrapped by The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
The Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport is a United Kingdom cabinet position with responsibility for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The role was created in 1992 by John Major as Secretary of State for National Heritage...

, Andy Burnham, ahead of "broader decisions about the future framework of public service broadcasting".
The broadcasting regulator Ofcom
Ofcom
Ofcom is the government-approved regulatory authority for the broadcasting and telecommunications industries in the United Kingdom. Ofcom was initially established by the Office of Communications Act 2002. It received its full authority from the Communications Act 2003...

 released their review in January 2009 in which they suggested that Channel 4 would preferably be funded by "partnerships, joint ventures or mergers".

Programming



Channel 4 is a "publisher-broadcaster", meaning that it commissions or "buys" all of its programming from companies independent of itself, and was the first broadcaster in the United Kingdom to do so on any significant scale. This had the consequence of starting an industry of production companies that did not have to rely on owning an ITV licence in order to see their programmes air, though since Channel 4, external commissioning has become regular practise on the numerous stations that have launched since, as well as on the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 and in ITV (where a quota of 25% minimum of total output has been imposed since the 1990 Broadcasting Act came into force). Ironically, having been the first British broadcaster to completely commission its core product from third parties, and after 25 years in-house, Channel 4 will now become the last terrestrial broadcaster to outsource its transmission and playout operations (to Red Bee Media).

The requirement to obtain all content externally is stipulated in its licence. Additionally, Channel 4 also began a trend of owning the copyright and distribution rights of the programmes it aired, in a manner that is similar to the major Hollywood studios' ownership of television programs that they did not directly produce. Thus, although Channel 4 does not produce programmes, many are seen as belonging to it.

Channel 4 also pioneered the concept of stranded programming, where seasons of programmes following a common theme would be aired and promoted together. Some would be very specific, and run for a fixed period of time; the 4 Mation
4 Mation
4 Mations was regular animation strand broadcast in the UK on Channel 4. The series often featured a documentary on different artists, animators and a series of animated films. The series was notable for co-financing some films and broadcasting animated films from around the world...

season, for example, showed innovative animation. Other, less specific strands, were (and still are) run regularly, such as T4
T4 (Channel 4)
T4 is a scheduling slot on Channel 4 from about 09:00 until 14:00 on Saturdays and 17:00 on Sundays. It also airs on weekdays in the school holidays. The slot has a separate station identification on screen graphic from Channel 4 and E4. The logo of T4 is noticeably the top right segment of the...

, a strand of programming aimed at teenagers, on weekend mornings (and weekdays during school/college holidays); Friday Night Comedy, a slot where the channel would pioneer its style of comedy commissions, 4Music (now a separate channel) and 4Later, an eclectic collection of offbeat programmes transmitted to a cult audience in the early hours of the morning.

In its earlier years, Red Triangle was the name given to the airing of certain risqué art-house films due to the use of a red triangle DOG
Digital on-screen graphic
A digital on-screen graphic is a watermark-like station logo that many television broadcasters overlay over a portion of the screen-area of their programs to identify the channel...

 in the upper right of the screen, dubbed as being pornographic by many of Channel 4's critics, whilst general broadcasting of films on the station for many years came under the banner of Film on Four prior to the launch of the FilmFour brand and station in the late 1990s.

Its critically acclaimed news service, Channel 4 News
Channel 4 News
Channel 4 News is the news division of British television broadcaster Channel 4. It is produced by ITN, and has been in operation since the broadcaster's launch in 1982.-Channel 4 News:...

, is supplied by ITN whilst its long-standing investigative documentary, Dispatches
Dispatches (TV series)
Dispatches is the British television current affairs documentary series on Channel 4, first transmitted in 1987. The programme covers issues about British society, politics, health, religion, international current affairs and the environment, usually featuring a mole in an organisation.-Awards:*...

, causes perennial media attention.

Other services


November 1998 saw Channel 4 expand beyond its remit of providing the 'fourth service' in a significant way, with the launch of FilmFour. Since then the corporation has been involved in a range of other activities, all in some way associated with the main channel, and mainly using the '4' brand.

In March 2010 these additional services were reviewed by the government's Culture, Media and Sport select committee. The channel and its Chief Executive were criticised for breaking service commitments, a lack of transparency in accounting for digital channels, poor governance and failed investments

4Ventures/4Rights


In 2001 4Ventures was created as the parent body of Channel 4 related commercial activities, rather than public-service obligations, with the intent of making profit which would serve to subsidise the main Channel 4.

Following the sale of Quiz Call
Quiz Call
Quiz Call is a late night/early morning phone-in quiz TV show, produced by Ostrich Media for Five, Five USA and Fiver.- Launch :...

 (a gaming channel operated by the then-owned subsidiary Ostrich Media
Ostrich Media
Ostrich Media is a British company, best known as the owner of interactive quiz show, Quiz Call. Up until October 2006, it was a wholly owned subsidiary of 4Ventures Limited, which is itself a subsidiary of the public-service commercial broadcaster Channel 4 Television Corporation...

) in 2006, a restructure of 4Ventures saw many of its activities re-integrated back into the main channel's operations (including day-to-day running of E4, Film4 and More4).

4Rights, was formed from an amalgamation of Channel 4 International and Channel 4 Consumer Products. As part of the restructure, much of the 4Ventures management team either left the company - former chief executive (and Channel 4 commercial director) Rob Woodward, and managing director Anmar Kawash took similar posts at STV Group plc - or transferred to other posts within Channel 4.

In 2007, the UK-based independent distribution group Digital Rights Group (DRG) announced an intention to buy Channel 4 International (adding it to Zeal and ID Distribution among its other companies), following a review by Channel 4 of its commercial division. The deal was completed in November of the same year. The Consumer Products division has been retained by Channel 4 as part of a new, restructured, 4Rights division.

Television



Film4



Channel 4 has had a long record of success in funding the production of films through Channel Four Films, renamed FilmFour in 1998 to coincide with the launch of its digital channel of the same name. Notable successes include The Madness of King George
The Madness of King George
The Madness of King George is a 1994 film directed by Nicholas Hytner and adapted by Alan Bennett from his own play, The Madness of George III. It tells the true story of George III's deteriorating mental health, and his equally declining relationship with his son, the Prince of Wales, particularly...

, The Crying Game
The Crying Game
The Crying Game is a 1992 psychological thriller drama film written and directed by Neil Jordan. The film explores themes of race, gender, nationality, and sexuality against the backdrop of the Irish Troubles...

and Four Weddings and a Funeral
Four Weddings and a Funeral
Four Weddings and a Funeral is a 1994 British comedy film directed by Mike Newell. It was the first of several films by screenwriter Richard Curtis to feature Hugh Grant...

. However, this dedicated film-making wing was scaled back in 2002 as a cost-cutting measure in the face of substantial losses.

Channel 4 launched a subscription film channel, FilmFour, in November 1998. It was available on digital satellite television
Satellite television
Satellite television is television programming delivered by the means of communications satellite and received by an outdoor antenna, usually a parabolic mirror generally referred to as a satellite dish, and as far as household usage is concerned, a satellite receiver either in the form of an...

 and digital cable. Companion services, such as FilmFour+1, FilmFour World and FilmFour Extreme were also available on some digital services. In 2003 Extreme and World were discontinued, and replaced with FilmFour Weekly. FilmFour Weekly closed in July 2006, when the main, newly named Film4 channel went free-to-view and became available on Digital Terrestrial. The switchover to digital terrestrial was heavily advertised. The adverts featured Lucy Liu
Lucy Liu
Lucy Alexis Liu is an American actress and film producer. She became known for playing the role of the vicious and ill-mannered Ling Woo in the television series Ally McBeal , and has also appeared in several Hollywood films including Charlie's Angels, Chicago, Kill Bill, and Kung Fu Panda.-Early...

, Christian Slater
Christian Slater
Christian Michael Leonard Slater is an American actor. He made his film debut with a small role in The Postman Always Rings Twice before playing a leading role in the 1985 film The Legend of Billie Jean...

, Ewan McGregor
Ewan McGregor
Ewan Gordon McGregor is a Scottish actor. He has had success in mainstream, indie, and art house films. McGregor is perhaps best known for his roles as heroin addict Mark Renton in the drama Trainspotting , young Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequel trilogy , and poet Christian in the...

, Judi Dench
Judi Dench
Dame Judith Olivia "Judi" Dench, CH, DBE, FRSA is an English film, stage and television actress.Dench made her professional debut in 1957 with the Old Vic Company. Over the following few years she played in several of William Shakespeare's plays in such roles as Ophelia in Hamlet, Juliet in Romeo...

, Gael García Bernal
Gael García Bernal
Gael García Bernal is a Mexican film actor and director.-Early life:García Bernal was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, the son of Patricia Bernal, an actress and former model, and José Ángel García, an actor and director. His stepfather is Sergio Yazbek, whom his mother married when García Bernal was...

, Willem Dafoe
Willem Dafoe
Willem Dafoe is an American film, stage, and voice actor, and a founding member of the experimental theatre company The Wooster Group...

, Mackenzie Crook
Mackenzie Crook
Paul Mackenzie Crook is a British actor and comedian. He is best known for playing Gareth Keenan in The Office and Ragetti in the Pirates of the Caribbean films.-Life and career:...

, Rhys Ifans
Rhys Ifans
Rhys Ifans is a Welsh actor and musician. He is known for his portrayal of characters such as Spike in Notting Hill and Jed Parry in Enduring Love and as a member of the Welsh rock groups Super Furry Animals and The Peth. Ifans also appeared as Xenophilius Lovegood in Harry Potter and the Deathly...

 and Ray Winstone
Ray Winstone
Raymond Andrew "Ray" Winstone is an English film and television actor. He is mostly known for his "tough guy" roles, beginning with that of Carlin in the 1979 film Scum and as Will Scarlet in the cult television adventure series Robin of Sherwood. He has also become well known as a voice over...

 declaring "Film4 is now free" in various situations across London. It remains the only film channel available free on digital terrestrial television.

In 2002, Channel 4's film financing division (Film4 Productions
Film4 Productions
Film4 Productions is a British film production company owned by Channel 4. The company has been responsible for backing a large number of films made in the United Kingdom. The company's first production was Walter, directed by Stephen Frears, which was released in 1982.- History :Before 1998, the...

) was seriously scaled back, due to massive losses, although total closure was averted. It had however had various successes, most notably Four Weddings and a Funeral
Four Weddings and a Funeral
Four Weddings and a Funeral is a 1994 British comedy film directed by Mike Newell. It was the first of several films by screenwriter Richard Curtis to feature Hugh Grant...

and Trainspotting. In 1994, BAFTA/LA (the Los Angeles branch of the British Academy of Film & Television Arts) presented a full-length film festival in Los Angeles in conjunction with the American Cinematheque
American Cinematheque
The American Cinematheque is an independent, non-profit cultural organization in Los Angeles dedicated exclusively to the public presentation of the Moving Image in all its forms. It is considered among the premier organizations of its kind in America....

 (the US equivalent of Britain's National Film Theatre) that saluted the considerable contributions to British film of Channel 4's film division since its inception. The festival presented many of the most celebrated Channel 4 films, and also featured panel discussions about Channel 4's role between Channel 4 chief executive Michael Grade
Michael Grade
Michael Ian Grade, Baron Grade of Yarmouth CBE is a British broadcast executive and businessman. He was BBC chairman from 2004 to 2006 and executive chairman of ITV plc from 2007 to 2009.-Early life:...

 and US TV producer Norman Lear
Norman Lear
Norman Milton Lear is an American television writer and producer who produced such 1970s sitcoms as All in the Family, Sanford and Son, One Day at a Time, The Jeffersons, Good Times and Maude...

.

When Channel 4 had the rights to broadcast test match cricket in England, the downtime of the FilmFour channel was often used to broadcast uninterrupted coverage of a match when the main channel was committed elsewhere, usually to racing. At these times FilmFour was available unencrypted and free-to-air.

E4



E4, a digital entertainment channel previously available on the Internet, with a target age-range of 16-34, was launched in January 2001. It features premières of US imports and supplementary footage for programmes on its main channel (most notably extended Big Brother coverage).

In 2005 it launched on Digital Terrestrial. E4 now has as much coverage as other services available on Cable, Satellite and Digital Terrestrial like ITV2
ITV2
ITV2 is a 24 hour, free-to-air entertainment television channel in the United Kingdom owned by ITV Digital Channels Ltd, a division of ITV plc. It was launched on 7 December 1998, and is available on digital television via satellite, cable, IPTV and terrestrial platforms. The channel has the...

 and BBC Three
BBC Three
BBC Three is a television network from the BBC broadcasting via digital cable, terrestrial, IPTV and satellite platforms. The channel's target audience includes those in the 16-34 year old age group, and has the purpose of providing "innovative" content to younger audiences, focusing on new talent...

. It is a very successful channel with a first look or sneak peek, with the next episode of some series, such as Hollyoaks
Hollyoaks
Hollyoaks is a long-running British television soap opera, first broadcast on Channel 4 on 23 October 1995. It was originally devised by Phil Redmond, who has also devised shows including Brookside and Grange Hill...

 
and Desperate Housewives
Desperate Housewives
Desperate Housewives is an American television comedy-drama series created by Marc Cherry and produced by ABC Studios and Cherry Productions. Executive producer Cherry serves as Showrunner. Other executive producers since the fourth season include Marc Cherry, Bob Daily, George W...

appearing on E4 immediately after the show on Channel 4 has finished. Also they have "Second Chance Sunday" which allows you to see programmes you have missed during the week on a Sunday. New show Skins
Skins (TV series)
Skins is a BAFTA award-winning British teen drama that follows a group of teenagers in Bristol, South West England, through the two years of college. The controversial plot line explores issues such as dysfunctional families, mental illness , adolescent sexuality, substance abuse and death...

was a massive success for E4, peaking at the 2 million mark - one of the most viewed premières in digital TV history. There has, however, been some criticism that E4 (like many other digital channels), relies on seemingly endless repeats of a small selection of shows (notably Friends
Friends
Friends is an American sitcom created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, which aired on NBC from September 22, 1994 to May 6, 2004. The series revolves around a group of friends in Manhattan. The series was produced by Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions, in association with Warner Bros. Television...

), with further suggestion that it is often the same season of a particular show that is endlessly repeated.

During Big Brother, E4 plays host to live coverage of the show, subject to a delay. Until 2005, programmes on the channel did not air until 14.00 GMT, but on 12 August 2005 the widely-advertised E4 Music airs from 06.00 until 10.00 GMT, with various music shows and videos being showcased. This however is rested during Big Brother. Transmission of E4 Music has since declined and has been replaced with repeats of popular E4 shows. It has been declared that E4 Music has been moved permanently to the new 4Music channel. Since 2008, live coverage of Big Brother has been shortened during the day, until coming to a close in 2010.

E4 is widely available in Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

 in close to 70% of homes. It is carried on the NTL
NTL Ireland
NTL Communications Limited was a cable television and Multichannel Multipoint Distribution Service company in the Republic of Ireland. As of 2005 it was owned by Liberty Global Europe , having been divested by NTL...

 / Chorus cable networks
Chorus Communications
Chorus Communications was a communications provider in Ireland, it offered internet, television and telephone services. It was owned by Liberty Global Europe, and ultimately controlled by John C. Malone's Liberty Media. It was based in Limerick, and owns the cable television and MMDS TV licences...

 and also on Sky. The channel operates a separate advertising opt-out in Ireland allowing advertisers to directly target Irish audiences. This has been a highly successful commercial operation and all airtime sales are handled on the channels behalf by Medialink
Medialink
Medialink is a media representation company based in Ireland.Medialink was created in 1989, the company has worked with some Republic of Ireland and United Kingdom newspaper and magazine publishers...

 in Dublin.

More4



More4 is a channel aimed at those aged 35–60. Launched on 10 October 2005, it channel carries news and nightly discussion programmes, such as More4 News, an extension of Channel 4 News
Channel 4 News
Channel 4 News is the news division of British television broadcaster Channel 4. It is produced by ITN, and has been in operation since the broadcaster's launch in 1982.-Channel 4 News:...

that attempts to look "beyond the headlines", giving in-depth analysis. Advertising before the launch of the channel flaunted such HBO shows as Curb Your Enthusiasm
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Curb Your Enthusiasm is an American comedy television series produced and broadcast by HBO, which premiered on October 15, 2000. As of 2011, it has completed 80 episodes over eight seasons. The series was created by Seinfeld co-creator Larry David, who stars as a fictionalized version of himself...

and The Sopranos
The Sopranos
The Sopranos is an American television drama series created by David Chase that revolves around the New Jersey-based Italian-American mobster Tony Soprano and the difficulties he faces as he tries to balance the often conflicting requirements of his home life and the criminal organization he heads...

, as well as NBC's The West Wing
The West Wing (TV series)
The West Wing is an American television serial drama created by Aaron Sorkin that was originally broadcast on NBC from September 22, 1999 to May 14, 2006...

. Its conception has met conflicting responses; many people believe the programmes shown to be of great quality, while others see it as an excuse to free up more room for a deluge of property programmes or less respectable programmes (see Fat Pets) in all other free slots on Channel 4.

4Music



Over recent years 4Music has risen, showing new single releases, as well as other music shows frequently broadcast across T4, Channel 4 and E4. 2007 saw its own logo being devised and since then has had many themed weekends dedicated to a current band or performer.

On Sundays, Channel 4's 4Music strand aired between 17:00 and midnight on The Hits
The Hits
The Hits was a music video channel in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, owned by Box Television.-Overview and availability:The channel showcased a range of pop centering on chart hits and current favourites...

. The first 'episode' was presented by the most successful female act of the century Sugababes
Sugababes
The Sugababes are an English pop girl group based in London, consisting of members Heidi Range, Amelle Berrabah and Jade Ewen. The Sugababes were formed in 1998 with founding members Siobhán Donaghy, Mutya Buena and Keisha Buchanan. Their debut album, One Touch, was released in 2000 under London...

, however 4Music Sundays were meant to feature live acts and also The Shockwaves Album Chart Show.

On 20 February 2008, it was announced that The Hits was to be rebranded as 4Music later in the year, and on 15 August 2008, Channel 4 replaced The Hits
The Hits
The Hits was a music video channel in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, owned by Box Television.-Overview and availability:The channel showcased a range of pop centering on chart hits and current favourites...

 with 4Music. 4Music is available on Sky 360, Virgin
Virgin Media
Virgin Media Inc. is a company which provides fixed and mobile telephone, television and broadband internet services to businesses and consumers in the United Kingdom...

 330 and Freeview 18. (See Box Television)

4Music also has its own monthly music magazine show, The Crush. Which is hosted by Rick Edwards
Rick Edwards
Rick Edwards is a British TV presenter who mainly works on Channel 4 and E4. Rick has presented T4 with co-hosts Georgie Okell, Miquita Oliver, Jameela Jamil and Alexa Chung from which he left on 3 July 2011...

.

'+1' Channels



Channel 4 runs timeshift
Timeshift channel
A timeshift channel is a television channel carrying a time-delayed rebroadcast of its "parent" channel's output. This channel runs alongside their parent: the term "timeshift" does not refer to a network broadcasting at a later time to reflect a local timezone unless the parent is also available...

 variants of all its services (excluding 4Music and Channel 4 HD), including Channel 4 +1 since 20 August 2007. across all digital platforms. Channel 4 was the first terrestrial broadcaster in the United Kingdom to offer a time-shift variant of its main channel. In common with many other broadcasters, these channels output exactly the same programmes and continuity as was broadcast an hour previously, and are titled with the station name followed by a "+1" suffix.

Channel 4 +1, E4 +1 and More4 +1 all carry a "+1" indication onscreen. There was some concern about how it would be indicated on Channel 4 +1 as Channel 4 does not carry its own on-screen graphic. Eventually, a "+1" symbol that is derived from the Channel 4 logo was unveiled. Neither Film4 nor Film4 +1 carry on-screen graphics.

Box Television


In July 2007 Channel 4 bought 50% of Box Television Ltd for £28 m from Emap plc. It has since emerged that, as a result of Emap's decision to sell off its divisions in a break-up sale of the group, Channel 4 may be interested in acquiring the remaining half of the business. Box TV operates seven music TV stations (4Music, The Box, Smash Hits, Kerrang!, Q, Kiss and Magic). Emap's stake in Box Television Limited was transferred to new owners, Bauer Consumer Media, following Bauer's acquisition of Emap's publishing and radio businesses.

Channel 4 HD



On 10 December 2007, Channel 4 launched a high definition television simulcast
Simulcast
Simulcast, shorthand for "simultaneous broadcast", refers to programs or events broadcast across more than one medium, or more than one service on the same medium, at the same time. For example, Absolute Radio is simulcast on both AM and on satellite radio, and the BBC's Prom concerts are often...

 of Channel 4 on Sky+ HD, after British Sky Broadcasting agreed to contribute toward the channel’s satellite distribution costs. On 31 July 2009, Virgin Media added Channel 4 HD on channel 146 as a part of the M pack. On 25 March 2010 Channel 4 HD appeared on Freeview channel 52 with a placeholding caption, ahead of a commercial launch on 30 March 2010, coinciding with the commercial launch of Freeview HD. On 19 April 2011, Channel 4 HD was added to Freesat
Freesat
Freesat is a free-to-air digital satellite television joint venture between the BBC and ITV plc, serving the United Kingdom. The service was formed as a memorandum in 2007 and has been marketed since 6 May 2008...

 on channel 126. As a consequence, the channel moved from being free-to-view
Free-to-view
Free-to-view is a term used for free of charge and encrypted audio and/or video contents transmission that do not require any form of continual subscription...

 to free-to-air
Free-to-air
Free-to-air describes television and radio services broadcast in clear form, allowing any person with the appropriate receiving equipment to receive the signal and view or listen to the content without requiring a subscription or one-off fee...

 on satellite during March 2011.

The channel carries the same schedule as Channel 4, broadcasting programmes in HD when available. Initially this has been mostly American imports (such as Ugly Betty
Ugly Betty
Ugly Betty is an American comedy-drama television series developed by Silvio Horta, which premiered on ABC on September 28, 2006, and ended on April 14, 2010. The series revolves around the character Betty Suarez and is based on Fernando Gaitán's Colombian telenovela soap opera Yo soy Betty, la fea...

for example) and movies, however, original programming such as Hollyoaks
Hollyoaks
Hollyoaks is a long-running British television soap opera, first broadcast on Channel 4 on 23 October 1995. It was originally devised by Phil Redmond, who has also devised shows including Brookside and Grange Hill...

and Skins
Skins (TV series)
Skins is a BAFTA award-winning British teen drama that follows a group of teenagers in Bristol, South West England, through the two years of college. The controversial plot line explores issues such as dysfunctional families, mental illness , adolescent sexuality, substance abuse and death...

have been broadcast in HD. Although the intention is to increase the amount of "home grown" material being broadcast in HD. It has been announced as the UK's first full-time high definition channel from a terrestrial broadcaster.

Previously, in the summer of 2006, Channel 4 ran a six month closed trial of HDTV
High-definition television
High-definition television is video that has resolution substantially higher than that of traditional television systems . HDTV has one or two million pixels per frame, roughly five times that of SD...

, as part of the wider Freeview HD experiment via the Crystal Palace transmitter to London and parts of the home counties
Home Counties
The home counties is a term which refers to the counties of South East England and the East of England which border London, but do not include the capital city itself...

, including the use of Lost
Lost (TV series)
Lost is an American television series that originally aired on ABC from September 22, 2004 to May 23, 2010, consisting of six seasons. Lost is a drama series that follows the survivors of the crash of a commercial passenger jet flying between Sydney and Los Angeles, on a mysterious tropical island...

 and Desperate Housewives
Desperate Housewives
Desperate Housewives is an American television comedy-drama series created by Marc Cherry and produced by ABC Studios and Cherry Productions. Executive producer Cherry serves as Showrunner. Other executive producers since the fourth season include Marc Cherry, Bob Daily, George W...

as part of the experiment, as US broadcasters such as ABC
American Broadcasting Company
The American Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network. Created in 1943 from the former NBC Blue radio network, ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company and is part of Disney-ABC Television Group. Its first broadcast on television was in 1948...

 already have an HDTV back catalogue.

At the Races



In 2000, Channel 4 launched a dedicated horse racing channel, At the Races, in conjunction with British Sky Broadcasting
British Sky Broadcasting
British Sky Broadcasting Group plc is a satellite broadcasting, broadband and telephony services company headquartered in London, United Kingdom, with operations in the United Kingdom and the Ireland....

 and Arena Leisure plc, owner of 28 of Britain's racecourses. The channel ceased broadcasting in 2003 owing to financial problems, but was subsequently restructured and re-launched (without Channel 4's involvement) in June 2004 and it is branded with almost identical livery as Sky Sports. Channel 4's racing coverage, re-named to incorporate "At The Races" in the title, returned to its original name of Channel 4 Racing
Channel 4 Racing
Channel 4 Racing is the name given to the horse racing coverage on the British television station Channel 4.-History:The first transmission of racing on the channel was on 22 March 1984 from Doncaster, as it took over midweek coverage which had previously been on ITV...

 when the channel left involvement with At The Races. Channel 4 racing programmes now feature close co-operation with rival digital racing channel Racing UK
Racing UK
Racing UK Limited was launched as a subscription channel in 2004 with 30 racecourses as shareholders. As Racing UK grew several other business units and joint ventures were developed....

, who sub-licence the live rights and share the same production company. Channel 4 cross-promote Racing UK's coverage of the day's racing during its broadcasts.

4 Digital Group


Channel 4 was the leading member of the 4 Digital Group
4 Digital Group
4 Digital Group was a media consortium in the United Kingdom. The group won the licence to operate the second national DAB radio multiplex, as advertised by Ofcom in December 2006. The consortium, led by Channel 4 Radio, is a combination of the existing commercial radio operators and brands new to...

consortium, which includes EMAP
EMAP
Emap Limited is a British media company, specialising in the production of business-to-business magazines, and the organisation of business events and conferences...

, UTV
UTV
UTV is a television channel based in the UK region of Northern Ireland. The channel is the Channel 3 or Independent Television licensee for Northern Ireland and is operated by UTV Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of UTV Media.- Terrestrial :* Analogue: Normally tuned to 3 * Freeview : 3...

 and STV Group plc as partners (although STV's involvement will cease when Virgin Radio is floated as a separate company). In July 2007 The group was awarded the 12 year licence to operate the second national DAB
Digital audio broadcasting
Digital Audio Broadcasting is a digital radio technology for broadcasting radio stations, used in several countries, particularly in Europe. As of 2006, approximately 1,000 stations worldwide broadcast in the DAB format....

 radio licence after having defeated its only rival, National Grid Wireless, in the three-month bidding process.

The service would have operated ten radio stations, including Channel 4 Radio, E4 Radio, Sky News Radio
Sky News Radio
Sky News Radio is the radio arm of the Sky News division of British Sky Broadcasting. It has been operating since June 1999, providing a news bulletin service for UK commercial radio stations operators across the UK and for a number of English-speaking radio stations across the world.The Sky News...

 (operated by BSkyB
British Sky Broadcasting
British Sky Broadcasting Group plc is a satellite broadcasting, broadband and telephony services company headquartered in London, United Kingdom, with operations in the United Kingdom and the Ireland....

 and Global Radio
Global Radio
Global Radio UK Ltd. is a British commercial radio company, the largest in the country following acquisitions of Chrysalis Radio and GCap Media.The company's Chief Executive Officer is Stephen Miron, while the Group Chairman is Charles Allen...

) and Radio Disney
Radio Disney
Radio Disney is a radio network based in Burbank, California and headquartered out of the Disney Channel headquarters on West Alameda Ave., from where it has been based since November 2008. Prior to that, the network was based in Dallas, Texas...

 (in association with Disney). Many of the services, especially Channel 4 Radio and E4 Radio would have competed directly with national BBC Radio stations. Podcast
Podcast
A podcast is a series of digital media files that are released episodically and often downloaded through web syndication...

 and text services were also to have been provided. In October 2008 Channel 4 announced that it was abandoning its plans for digital radio stations.

4radio



In June 2006 Channel 4 tried to launch 4radio, offering audio programmes in the shape of podcasts aimed at introducing new public service radio services informed by C4's values of creativity and innovation. Coupled with its strategy of becoming a truly multimedia company, 4radio hosts shows that tie in with its flagship TV hits including Big Brother, Lost
Lost (TV series)
Lost is an American television series that originally aired on ABC from September 22, 2004 to May 23, 2010, consisting of six seasons. Lost is a drama series that follows the survivors of the crash of a commercial passenger jet flying between Sydney and Los Angeles, on a mysterious tropical island...

, and Channel 4 News.

The successful multiplex consortium was expected to launch in 2008 with a taste of Channel 4 Radio's audio output made available earlier, including a revival of the channel's The Tube
The Tube (TV series)
The Tube was an innovative United Kingdom pop/rock music television programme, which ran for five seasons, from 5 November 1982 until 1987...

 music programme, and a very small amount of 4radio-branded content was heard on Oneword
Oneword
Oneword Radio was a British commercial digital radio station featuring books, drama, comedy, children's programming, and discussion. The station was available in the UK via digital radio and digital television and was streamed on the internet 24 hours a day worldwide...

 until its closure in January 2008.

Channel 4, as part of its review of public serving spending in 2008 decided to focus its expenditure on TV content and decided to stop its radio plans, resulting in the closure of 4 Digital Group.

Oneword



Oneword was a digital radio
Digital radio in the United Kingdom
In the United Kingdom, the roll-out of digital radio is proceeding since test transmissions were started by the BBC in 1990. The UK currently has the world's biggest digital radio network, with 103 transmitters, two national DAB ensembles and 48 local and regional DAB ensembles...

 station featuring the spoken word. In early 2005 Channel 4 purchased a minority stake in it, later that year buying a majority one worth £1,000,000. On 4 January 2007 it was announced that had Channel 4 sold its 51% stake back to UBC Media for £1. Its normal programming was suspended while a strategic review took place on the station. The station ceased broadcasting on 11 January 2008.

Channel4.com


The station's website is channel4.com. The site offers detailed programme information, highlights, and chats with actors and presenters of all Channel 4 channels. It also has in-depth sections including news, film, homes, sport, and more. Its learning sections are often used by many for educational needs.

4mations



In January 2008, Channel 4 joined with Aardman Animations
Aardman Animations
Aardman Animations, Ltd., also known as Aardman Studios, or simply as Aardman, is a British animation studio based in Bristol, United Kingdom. The studio is known for films made using stop-motion clay animation techniques, particularly those featuring Plasticine characters Wallace and Gromit...

 and Lupus Films to create 4mations
4mations
4mations is a website made for people to upload, view and share animated films and games. The site was founded in 2008 by Channel 4, sponsored by Aardman Animations and Lupus Films...

, a user-generated content
User-generated content
User generated content covers a range of media content available in a range of modern communications technologies. It entered mainstream usage during 2005 having arisen in web publishing and new media content production circles...

 animation portal, similar to aniBOOM
AniBOOM
Aniboom is an online production studio that makes animation by reaching out to its database of over 9,500 creators who are located around the globe...

 or MyToons
MyToons
MyToons was a free online community for animation that supported content sharing and social networking. MyToons.com was headquartered in San Antonio, Texas.The site was founded in 2006 by Paul Ford, Stacey Ford and Dan Kraus as a spinoff of Bauhaus Software...

.

4oD / Catch-up


4oD
4oD
4oD is a video on demand service from Channel 4. Launched in November 2006, 4oD stands for "4 on Demand". The service offers a variety of programmes recently shown on Channel 4, E4, More4 or from their archives...

 is a video on demand
Video on demand
Video on Demand or Audio and Video On Demand are systems which allow users to select and watch/listen to video or audio content on demand...

 service from Channel 4. Launched in November 2006, 4oD stands for "4 on Demand". The service offers a variety of programmes recently shown on Channel 4, E4, More4
More4
More4 is a digital television channel, run by British broadcaster Channel 4, that launched on 10 October 2005. It is carried on Freeview, on satellite broadcasters Freesat and Sky, UK IPTV broadcaster TalkTalk TV and on UK cable network Virgin Media and in the Republic of Ireland cable networks...

 or from their archives. However some programmes and movies are not available due to rights issues.

Intranet


Channel 4's intranet was awarded The British Interactive Media Award Group Winner in the B2B
Business-to-business
Business-to-business describes commerce transactions between businesses, such as between a manufacturer and a wholesaler, or between a wholesaler and a retailer...

 Technology and Innovation category. Their intranet was designed and built by digital agency Clock ltd
Clock ltd
Clock Limited is a Top 100, award-winning digital agency that specialise in delivering digital interfaces to high-profile clients through strong technical and creative expertise....

.

4-Tel/FourText


Channel 4 originally licensed an ancillary teletext service to provide schedules, programme information and features. The original service was called 4-Tel and was provided in collaboration with Oracle
ORACLE (teletext)
ORACLE was a commercial teletext service first broadcast on ITV in 1974 and later on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom, finally ending on both channels at 23:59 GMT on 31 December 1992....

. In 1993, with Oracle losing its franchise to Teletext Ltd, the running of 4-Tel was taken over by Intelfax, and in 2002 was renamed FourText.

Teletext on 4


In 2003, Channel 4 awarded Teletext Ltd a ten year contract to run the channel's ancillary teletext service, named Teletext on 4. The service is provided on both Channel 4 analogue and digital television services, Channel 4, E4 and More4. This has now been ceased and Teletext is no longer available on Channel 4, ITV and Channel 5.

Management


Channel 4 is run by a chief executive, whose role can be compared to that of the Director-General of the BBC
Director-General of the BBC
The Director-General of the British Broadcasting Corporation is chief executive and editor-in-chief of the BBC.The position was formerly appointed by the Board of Governors of the BBC and is now appointed by the BBC Trust....

. The chief executive is appointed by the chairman, which is a part-time position appointed by Ofcom
Ofcom
Ofcom is the government-approved regulatory authority for the broadcasting and telecommunications industries in the United Kingdom. Ofcom was initially established by the Office of Communications Act 2002. It received its full authority from the Communications Act 2003...

.

Chairmen

  • Edmund Dell
    Edmund Dell
    Edmund Emanuel Dell was a British politician and businessman.Dell was born in London, the son of a Jewish manufacturer. In World War II he served in the Rifle Corps and the Royal Artillery, leaving as a first lieutenant...

     (1982–1987)
  • Richard Attenborough
    Richard Attenborough
    Richard Samuel Attenborough, Baron Attenborough , CBE is a British actor, director, producer and entrepreneur. As director and producer he won two Academy Awards for the 1982 film Gandhi...

     (1987–1992)
  • Michael Bishop
    Michael Bishop (businessman)
    Michael David Bishop, Baron Glendonbrook CBE is a British businessman and life peer who rose to prominence as owner of the airline BMI. He sold his stake in the airline to Lufthansa on 1 July 2009 and has an estimated personal fortune of £480 million...

     (1993–1997)
  • Vanni Treves
    Vanni Treves
    Vanni Treves is a former Chairman of Channel 4, former Senior Partner of City law firm Macfarlanes and former Chairman of Equitable Life....

     (1998–2003)
  • Luke Johnson (2004–2010)
  • Terry Burns
    Terence Burns, Baron Burns
    Terence Burns, Baron Burns, GCB is a British economist, made a life peer in 1998 for his services as former Chief Economic Advisor and Permanent Secretary to HM Treasury. He is currently Chairman of Santander UK, Non-Executive Chairman of Glas Cymru, and a Non-Executive Director of Pearson Group...

     (2010–Present)

Chief Executives

  • Jeremy Isaacs
    Jeremy Isaacs
    Sir Jeremy Isaacs is a British television producer and executive, winner of many BAFTA awards and international Emmy Awards. He was also General Director of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden .-Early life:...

     (1981–1987)
  • Michael Grade
    Michael Grade
    Michael Ian Grade, Baron Grade of Yarmouth CBE is a British broadcast executive and businessman. He was BBC chairman from 2004 to 2006 and executive chairman of ITV plc from 2007 to 2009.-Early life:...

     (1988–1997)
  • Michael Jackson
    Michael Jackson (TV)
    Michael Richard Jackson is a British television producer and executive. He is notable for being one of only three people to have been Controller of both BBC One and BBC Two, the main television channels of the British Broadcasting Corporation, and for being the first media studies graduate to...

     (1997–2002)
  • Mark Thompson
    Mark Thompson
    Mark John Thompson is Director-General of the BBC, a post he has held since 2004, and a former chief executive of Channel 4...

     (Mar 2002 – Jun 2004)
  • Andy Duncan
    Andy Duncan (executive)
    Andy Duncan was chief executive of Britain's Channel 4 television channel from July 2004 to November 2009, the first not to have a background in programme making. He was previously director of marketing, communications and audiences at the BBC and the founding chairman of Freeview...

     (Jul 2004 - Nov 2009)
  • Anne Bulford (Interim) (Nov 2009 - Jan 2010)
  • David Abraham
    David Abraham (executive)
    David Abraham is the Chief Executive of the United Kingdom's Channel 4 television corporation, appointed in January 2010 he formally took up his post on 4 May 2010. He was previously Chief Executive of UKTV.-Previous career:...

     (Jan 2010 – Present)

Financial information


Channel 4's total revenue for the year to 31 December 2005 was £894.3 million, of which £735.2 million was generated by its main channel, and the remainder by its subsidiaries channels, sales of programming rights to other broadcasters, Film Four and "new media". Operating profits for the year to 31 December 2006 fell 70% to £14.5 million from £56.9 million in 2005.

Headquarters




Channel 4 was originally based at 60 Charlotte Street
Charlotte Street
Charlotte Street is a well-known street in Fitzrovia, central London, England. The southern half of the street has many restaurants and cafes, and a lively nightlife during the evening; while the northern part of the street is more mixed in character and includes the large office building of the...

 in the West End of London. Since 1994 the channel has occupied distinctive, purpose-built headquarters at 124 Horseferry Road
Horseferry Road
Horseferry Road is a street in the City of Westminster in central London, England, running between Millbank and Greycoat Place. It is perhaps best known as the site of City of Westminster Magistrates' Court...

, Westminster. Designed by Richard Rogers Partnership
Richard Rogers
Richard George Rogers, Baron Rogers of Riverside CH Kt FRIBA FCSD is a British architect noted for his modernist and functionalist designs....

 with structural engineering by Ove Arup & Partners, its 15,000 square metres architecture follows on from - but is more restrained than - the Lloyd's building
Lloyd's building
The Lloyd's building is the home of the insurance institution Lloyd's of London, and is located at 1, Lime Street, in the City of London, England.-Design:...

 in the City of London, and was constructed between 1990 and 1994. Twin four-storey office blocks arranged in an L shape are connected by a curved front with a dramatic concave glazed wall.

The Big 4 is a 50-foot-tall statue of the Channel 4 logo which was constructed outside the building. The structure replicates the Channel's current on-screen identity, which the metal frames form the logo only when viewed in a particular angle. Also, the Big 4 is adapted into masterpieces created by artists such as British photographer Nick Knight and fashion designer Hannah Gourlay.

Despite nearly all Channel 4 programmes being commissioned from independent production companies, the Channel 4 headquarters originally contained a studio and post-production facility, marketed as 124 Facilities. The studio was used for Channel 4 programmes (such as T4 continuity), and other channels' programmes such as Channel 5's football coverage. The studio was closed at the end of October 2007 and only the post-production operation remains, though it is now managed by Red Bee Media
Red Bee Media
Red Bee Media Limited is a media management company.Headquartered in west London, United Kingdom at the Broadcast Centre, with international offices in Scotland, Australia, France, Germany and Spain, Red Bee Media has 1500 employees worldwide including homeworkers and revenues of £153m in...

.

Regions


Channel 4 has, since its inception, broadcast identical programmes and continuity
Continuity (broadcasting)
'Continuity' or 'presentation' is a term used in broadcasting, especially in the United Kingdom , to refer to announcements, messages and graphics played by the broadcaster between specific programmes...

 throughout the United Kingdom (excluding Wales where it did not operate on analogue transmitters). At launch this made it unique, as both the BBC and ITV
ITV
ITV is the major commercial public service TV network in the United Kingdom. Launched in 1955 under the auspices of the Independent Television Authority to provide competition to the BBC, it is also the oldest commercial network in the UK...

 had long established traditions of providing regional variations in their programming and announcements between transmitters in different areas of the country (although in the case of BBC2, variations have by and large tended to be limited to national idents as opposed to regional ones). In ITV's case, this was a consequence of its inherent federal structure (see ITV companies). Since the launch of subsequent British television channels, Channel 4 has become typical in its lack of variations of this nature.

A few exceptions exist to this rule for programming and continuity: Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

 has a dedicated variant broadcast on Sky Ireland which omits programmes for which broadcast rights are not held in Ireland. For example, the series Glee
Glee (TV series)
Glee is an American musical comedy-drama television series that airs on Fox in the United States, and on GlobalTV in Canada. It focuses on the high school glee club New Directions competing on the show choir competition circuit, while its members deal with relationships, sexuality and social issues...

 is not available on Channel 4 on Sky in Ireland.

Some of Channel 4's schools' programming (1980s/early '90s) were regionalised due to differences in curricula between different regions.

Part of Channel 4's remit covers the commissioning of programmes from outside London. Channel 4 has a dedicated director of nations and regions, Stuart Cosgrove
Stuart Cosgrove
Stuart Cosgrove is a Scottish journalist, broadcaster and television executive. As a journalist Cosgrove served on the NME and The Face during the 1980s, before joining Channel 4 in April 1994, serving for eight years as Controller of Arts and Entertainment and currently as Head of Programmes...

, who is based in a regional office in Glasgow. As his job title suggests, it is his responsibility to foster relations with independent producers based in areas of the United Kingdom (including Wales) outside of London.

Advertising on Channel 4 does contain regular variation: prior to 1993, when ITV was responsible for selling Channel 4's advertising, each regional ITV company would provide the content of advertising breaks, covering the same transmitter area as themselves, and these breaks were often unique to that area. After Channel 4 became responsible for its own advertising, it continued to offer advertisers the ability to target particular audiences and divided its coverage area into six parts coining the term 'LEMNUS' standing for "London, The East [and South] of England, The Midlands, The North of England, Ulster
Ulster
Ulster is one of the four provinces of Ireland, located in the north of the island. In ancient Ireland, it was one of the fifths ruled by a "king of over-kings" . Following the Norman invasion of Ireland, the ancient kingdoms were shired into a number of counties for administrative and judicial...

 and Scotland.

At present, Wales does not have its own advertising region, instead its viewers receive the southern region on digital platforms intentionally broadcast to the area, or the neighbouring region where analogue transmissions spill over into Wales. Ireland (the Republic) shares its advertising region with Northern Ireland (referred to by Channel 4 as the 'Ulster Macro') with many advertisers selling products for Ireland here. E4 has an advertising variant for Ireland, although Northern Ireland receives the UK version of E4. The six regions are also carried on satellite, cable and Digital Terrestrial.

Channel 5 and GMTV
GMTV
GMTV was the national Channel 3 breakfast television contractor, broadcasting in the United Kingdom from 1 January 1993 to 3 September 2010. It became a wholly owned subsidiary of ITV plc. in November 2009. Shortly after, ITV plc announced the programme would end...

 use a similar model to Channel 4 for providing their own advertising regions, despite also having a single national output of programming.

Future possibility of regional news


With ITV plc
ITV plc
ITV plc is a British media company that operates 12 of the 15 regional television broadcasters that make up the ITV Network, the oldest and largest commercial terrestrial television network in the United Kingdom...

 pushing for much looser requirements on the amount of regional news and other programming it is obliged to broadcast in its ITV regions, the idea of Channel 4 taking on a regional news commitment has been considered, with the corporation in talks with Ofcom
Ofcom
Ofcom is the government-approved regulatory authority for the broadcasting and telecommunications industries in the United Kingdom. Ofcom was initially established by the Office of Communications Act 2002. It received its full authority from the Communications Act 2003...

 and ITV over the matter. Channel 4 believe that a scaling-back of such operations on ITV's part would be detrimental to Channel 4's national news operation, which shares much of its resources with ITV through their shared news contractor ITN. At the same time, Channel 4 also believe that such an additional public service commitment would bode well in on-going negotiations with Ofcom in securing additional funding for its other public service commitments.

Annual Reports and Financial Statements


Annual Reports and Financial Statements 1983-Present

See also

  • Annan Committee
    Annan Committee
    The Annan Committee on the future of broadcasting was established in April 1974 to discuss the United Kingdom broadcasting industry, including new technologies and their funding, the role and funding of the BBC, Independent Broadcasting Authority and programme standards.In February 1977 the...

  • Ban This Filth
    Ban This Filth
    Ban This Filth was a spoof television programme aired on Channel 4 in October 2004. The show was presented as a crusade against pornography, profanity and nudity on television. The three presenters are all elderly middle class women, who warn viewers what programmes not to watch in the coming week...

  • Channel 4 News
    Channel 4 News
    Channel 4 News is the news division of British television broadcaster Channel 4. It is produced by ITN, and has been in operation since the broadcaster's launch in 1982.-Channel 4 News:...

  • Channel 4 programming
    Channel 4 programming
    Channel 4, in common with the other main British stations broadcast on analogue, airs a highly comprehensive range of programming. It was established in 1982 with a specific intention of providing programming to groups of minority interests, not catered for by its competitors, which at the time...

  • Channel 4 Sheffield Pitch competition
    Channel 4 Sheffield Pitch
    The Channel 4 Sheffield Pitch is an annual competition sponsored by British public-service television broadcaster Channel 4, which seeks to offer one new documentary maker the chance to make a film for the company...

  • List of British television channels
  • 3 Minute Wonder
    3 Minute Wonder
    3 Minute Wonder is a short Channel 4 television slot that broadcasts first time directors' three-minute TV programmes in the middle of the channel's weekday primetime schedule...

  • Wank Week
    Wank Week
    Wank Week was a controversial season of television programming that was due to be broadcast in the United Kingdom by Channel 4, expected to consist of a series of three documentary programmes about masturbation...


External links