Channel 4 signs deal to stream 1,000 hours of hit shows on YouTube for free | Channel 4

Channel 4 signs deal to stream 1,000 hours of hit shows on YouTube for free | Channel 4

Channel 4 will make 1,000 hours of hit SAS: Who Dares Wins shows Location, Location, Location available on YouTube in the largest commercial deal the Silicon Valley giant has ever struck with a British broadcaster.

Channel 4, which has struck a lucrative business and content partnership as it makes a last ditch effort to avoid privatisation, aims to reduce its reliance on traditional TV advertising and target young audiences as a digital broadcaster.

The partnership with YouTube, which is used by 98% of internet users aged 18-34 each month, includes Channel 4’s sale of advertisements around the programmes, which will be available to viewers free of charge – the first time that Google has form of video sharing ceded control of ad sales to a broadcaster in the UK or Europe.

The deal also potentially marks the beginning of a new era of commercial deals between TV broadcasters and Silicon Valley, in the same vein as those reached between Google, Facebook and newspaper publishers such as News Corporation, owner of titles such as The Sun, Times and The Wall Street Journal.

In 2009, Channel 4 became the first broadcaster in the world to offer thousands of hours of programming on YouTube. However, the deal fell apart in 2014, with the broadcaster saying the best way to get a return on its programming investment was to focus on making its shows available only on its own online services and on demand.

For most of the past decade, most UK broadcasters have only used YouTube for promotional purposes, and none have agreed a wide-ranging programming deal, with Sky and BT meddling in distribution free to increase the audience of certain paying ones. TV programs such as the Champions League final.

“Innovative strategic partnerships are Channel 4’s specialty and this new relationship with YouTube is another that will allow us to continue to grow our reach with young audiences and build on our unparalleled digital success,” said Alex Mahon, CEO of Channel 4.

“Together with YouTube, we have created a powerful consumer channel packed with our great Channel 4 content. This will attract even more viewers thanks to YouTube’s increased reach and digital scale.”

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Last year, around a fifth of Channel 4’s total £1.2billion revenue came from digital advertising. The broadcaster expects this to increase to 30% by 2025.

The deal will involve a combination of popular archive catch-up programs and new releases – after a 30-day window on Channel 4’s All 4 on-demand service after it first aired on TV – made available on YouTube at from the end of this month.

“As an open platform, YouTube is where UK audiences of all ages and backgrounds come to watch what they want to watch, when they want to watch it,” said Ben McOwen Wilson, chief executive of YouTube. YouTube UK & Ireland. “It’s fantastic to drive innovative partnerships like this, to allow major broadcasters to contribute to the diversity of content on the platform of choice for young viewers.”

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