Revenues approach £1BN mark in strong 2018 for Channel 4 | Major Businesses | Business
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Casting aside what it called a challenging economic environment, UK broadcaster Channel 4 has reported a robust fiscal 2018 with revenues rising £15 million to £975 million and the delivery of a £5 million surplus following two years of planned deficits.
Channel4 12June2019
As a result of the increases, Channel 4 now has total net assets of £439 million, down £7 million on 2017, alongside cash reserves of £180 million, a £10 million yearly fall. During the year Channel 4 invested £662 million in content – the third highest investment in Channel 4’s history, Within that, the main Channel 4 linear offering spent £548 million, up £4 million on 2017.

Across the year Channel 4’s share of viewing maintained at 5.9% with the twelve months showing the successful launch of new programmes and increased performance from returning brands. However, the channel conceded that competition in the digital market, EPG changes on some platforms, and the impact of the 2018 World Cup broadcast on BBC and ITV did impact overall portfolio viewing share which declined 0.3 percentage points to 10.2% share over 2018.

Content highlights were led by Derry Girls which launched as Channel 4’s most successful new comedy since 2004 and was the biggest series on record in Northern Ireland since records began. Other successes with new formats and programmes included The Big Narstie Show, Genderquake, Peng Life, Stath lets Flats, Prison and The Circle, which delivered a 49% profile of all 16-34s viewers across the series, the largest on any terrestrial channel since 2012.

A key driving force to the strong commercial performance during the year was record growth in digital services. 2018 saw a record performance in digital viewing on the All 4 on-demand platform, representing growth of 26%, the highest rate of since 2010, -to reach a record 915 million views over the year. Such digital viewing growth on All 4 resulted in record digital revenues of £138 million, up 11% year-on-year, and making up 14% of total corporation revenues.

Channel 4 said that All 4’s success reflects the increased demand for catch-up programming from the channel portfolio’s strong linear schedule, and the success of its archive and exclusive box set content - which now includes partnerships with Vice, Adult Swim, Sky and Walter Presents.

As it announced the results, Channel 4 announced two major new developments as part of its ongoing strategy to accelerate digital and supercharge youth. The first is a new Terms of Trade agreement for a digital era, putting in place a new framework for independent producers commissioned by Channel 4.

This will see Channel 4 have for the first time flexibility to use programmes across its portfolio of channels and video-on-demand (VOD) services, including All 4, within the licence term without negotiating further rights. It will enable Channel 4 to make its content available on linear channels and on-demand to suit how and where viewers want to watch it. Independent producers will retain all net receipts from international exploitation, and from exploitation in the UK after the expiry of the Channel 4 licence term. For the first time, the Terms of Trade will also apply to shows commissioned for E4.

Secondly, Channel 4 will invest in a new content strand for teenagers, to be distributed on YouTube and other social channels such as Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook. Launching in early 2020, Channel 4 will build on its existing commitment to programming aimed at older children, with a new digital-first range of short and medium-form content aimed at 13-16-year-olds. This content, which will include a seven-figure investment in original commissions, is designed to make sure that a new generation, who spend an increasing amount of time on YouTube and social media, continue to have a strong relationship with Channel 4.The teens strand will be commissioned and run from Channel 4’s new National HQ in Leeds.

“Despite a challenging market, Channel 4 delivered great results in 2018, with growth in our revenues and digital playing a more important role than ever,” said Channel 4 chief executive Alex Mahon commenting on the results. “Most importantly we continued to make an impact with innovative, purposeful and popular television, film and journalism. It’s a phenomenally exciting time to be at Channel 4 as we transform the organisation to be truly representative of the whole country with the 4 All the UK strategy and continue to accelerate our digital growth and increase investment in our relationship with young viewers.”