CHANNEL 4 is a British public-service television broadcaster that
began transmission on 2 November 1982. Although largely commercially
self-funded, it is ultimately publicly owned; originally a subsidiary
Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA), the station is now
owned and operated by
Channel Four Television Corporation
Channel Four Television Corporation , a public
corporation of the Department for Culture, Media the idea of an "ITV2"
was long expected and pushed for. Indeed, television sets sold
throughout the 1970s and early 1980s had a spare tuning button
labelled "ITV/IBA 2". Throughout ITV\'s history 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
ethos and a public service approach more akin to the BBC, it was
ultimately something of a compromise that eventually led to the
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 almost 15
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
Wales and HTV . The campaign was taken so seriously by Gwynfor
Evans , former president of
Plaid Cymru , 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 authority , S4C
would air programmes in Welsh made by HTV, the
BBC and independent
companies. Initially limited frequency space meant that Channel 4
could not be broadcast alongside S4C, though some
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 when
S4C became a fully Welsh channel.
Since then, carriage on digital cable , satellite and digital
terrestrial has introduced
Channel 4 to Welsh homes where it is now
LAUNCH AND IBA CONTROL
The first voice heard on Channel 4's opening day of Tuesday 2
November 1982 was that of continuity announcer
Paul Coia who said:
Good afternoon. It's a pleasure to be able to say to you, welcome
to Channel Four.
Following the announcement, the channel headed into a montage of
clips from its programmes set to the station's signature tune,
"Fourscore", written by David Dundas , 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 Countdown , at 16:45 produced
Yorkshire Television . The first person to be seen on
Channel 4 was
Richard Whiteley with
Ted Moult being the second. The first woman on
the channel, contrary to popular belief, was not Whiteley's Countdown
Carol Vorderman but a lexicographer only ever identified as
Mary. Whiteley opened the show with the words:
As the countdown to a brand new channel ends, a brand new countdown
On its first day,
Channel 4 also broadcast controversial soap opera
Brookside , which ran until 2003.
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 founding chief executive
Jeremy Isaacs , where the
channel gained a reputation for programmes on the contemporary arts.
Channel 4 co-commissioned
Robert Ashley '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
Channel 4 also began the funding of independent films, such as the
The Courtesans of Bombay , during this time.
Channel 4 also faced its first libel case by
Jani Allan , a
South African journalist, who objected to her representation in Nick
Broomfield 's documentary The Leader, His Driver and the Driver\'s
In September 1993, the channel broadcast the direct-to-TV documentary
Beyond Citizen Kane , in which it displayed the dominant position
Rede Globo television network, and discussed its influence,
power and political connections in Brazil.
CHANNEL FOUR TELEVISION CORPORATION
Channel 4 headquarters in London. Main article: Channel Four
After control of the station passed from the Channel Four Television
Company to the
Channel Four Television Corporation
Channel Four Television Corporation in 1993, 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 gave
such shows as
Friends and ER their UK premières.
In the early 2000s,
Channel 4 began broadcasting reality formats such
as Big Brother and obtained the rights to broadcast mass appeal
sporting events like cricket and horse racing . This new direction
increased ratings and revenues.
In addition, the corporation launched a number of new television
channels through its new 4Ventures offshoot, including
Film4 , At the
Races , E4 and
Partially in reaction to its new 'populist' direction, the
Communications Act 2003 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.
On 31 December 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.
Under the leadership of Freeview founder Andy Duncan , 2005 saw a
change of direction for Channel 4's digital channels.
Channel 4 made
E4 free-to-air on digital terrestrial television , and launched a new
free-to-air digital channel called More4. By October,
Channel 4 had
joined the Freeview consortium. By July 2006,
Film4 had also become a
'free to air' and restarted broadcasting on digital terrestrial.
Venturing into radio broadcasting, 2005 saw
Channel 4 purchase 51% of
shares in the now defunct
Oneword 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
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 25th birthday. It
showed the first episode of Countdown, 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 jingle throughout the day.
In November 2009,
Channel 4 launched a week of
3D television ,
broadcasting selected programmes each night using stereoscopic
ColorCode 3D technology. The accompanying 3D glasses were distributed
through Sainsbury\'s supermarkets.
On 29 September 2015,
Channel 4 revamped its presentation for a fifth
time; the new branding downplays the "4" logo from most on-air usage,
and instead utilises various variations of the shapes which comprise
the logo. The full logo is still occasionally used, but primarily for
print advertising. Four new idents, filmed by
Jonathan Glazer , are
used to introduce programmes and feature various elements of the
blocks within them. A fifth ident, in which hundreds of the blocks
form what appears to be a clock face, is used to introduce the Channel
4 News . On June 2017, the presentation bumpers were updated slightly
to re-introduce the "4" logo.
Channel 4 has raised concerns over how it might finance its public
service obligations after digital switch-over. However, some certainty
came with 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
would include carriage on the Freeview platform. On 15 August 2008,
4Music was launched across the UK.
Channel 4 has 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.
Channel 4 was considered for privatisation by the governments of
Margaret Thatcher, John Major and Tony Blair. As of 2016 the future
of the channel was again being looked into by the government, with
analysts suggesting several options for the channel's future.
In June 2017, it was announced that
Alex Mahon would be the next
chief executive, and would take over from David Abraham , when he
leaves in October or November 2017.
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 and now
The preamble of the remit as per the
Communications Act 2003 states
"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
* 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 .
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 continued to be broadcast through these
means until the changeover to digital terrestrial television in the
United Kingdom was complete. Since 1998, it has been universally
available on digital terrestrial, and the Sky platform (initially
encrypted, though encryption was dropped on 14 April 2008 and is now
free of charge and available on the
Freesat platform) 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 seen outside the
United Kingdom where it is widely
available in Ireland, Switzerland and Belgium. Here viewers receive
the channel either on basic cable subscription services or premium
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.
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. As of the 2015,
Channel 4 has an opt-out
for the Republic of Ireland featuring Irish advertising, the schedule
is the same as the UK channel.
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
Channel 4 is also provided by
Virgin Mobile 's DAB mobile TV
service which has the same restrictions as the Internet live stream
Channel 4 is also carried by the Internet TV service
and was previously carried by
Zattoo until the operator removed the
channel from its platform.
Channel 4 also makes some of its programming available "on demand"
via cable and the Internet through
All 4 .
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.
For example, as of 2012 its total revenues were £925 million with 91%
derived from sale of advertising. 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 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 the 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 , Andy
Burnham , ahead of "broader decisions about the future framework of
public service broadcasting". The broadcasting regulator Ofcom
released its review in January 2009 in which it suggested that Channel
4 would preferably be funded by "partnerships, joint ventures or
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; such commissioning is a stipulation which is
included in its licence to broadcast. This had the consequence of
starting an industry of production companies that did not have to rely
on owning an ITV licence to see their programmes air, though since
Channel 4, external commissioning has become regular practice on the
numerous stations that have launched since, as well as on the
in ITV (where a quota of 25% minimum of total output has been imposed
since the 1990 Broadcasting Act came into force). Although it was the
first British broadcaster to commission all of its programmes from
Channel 4 was the last terrestrial broadcaster to
outsource its transmission and playout operations (to
Red Bee Media ),
after 25 years in-house.
The requirement to obtain all content externally is stipulated in its
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 programmes that they did not directly produce. Thus,
Channel 4 does not produce programmes, many are seen as
belonging to it.
It was established with a specific intention of providing programming
to groups of minority interests, not catered for by its competitors,
which at the time were only the
BBC and ITV .
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 season, for example, showed innovative
animation. Other, less specific strands, were (and still are) run
regularly, such as T4 , 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
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 in the upper right of the screen, dubbed as being pornographic by
many of Channel 4's critics, while 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.
MOST WATCHED PROGRAMMES
The following is a list of the 10 most watched shows on Channel 4
since launch, based on Live +7 data supplied by
BARB , and archival
data published by Channel 4.
A Woman of Substance
1 April 1985
Four Weddings and a Funeral
Four Weddings and a Funeral
15 November 1995
8 January 1985
26 July 2002
Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
8 February 2011
28 May 2004
15 September 2000
Nuns on the Run
18 April 1993
6 August 2004
The Grand National 2013
6 April 2013
During the station's early days, the screenings of innovative short
one-off comedy films produced by a rotating line-up of alternative
comedians went under the title of
The Comic Strip Presents . The Tube
and Saturday Live/Friday Night Live also launched the careers of a
number of comedians and writers.
Channel 4 broadcast a number of
popular American imports including
Friends , Sex and the
South Park and Will "> news service,
Channel 4 News , is
ITN whilst its long-standing investigative documentary
series, Dispatches , attracts perennial media attention.
FourDocs is an online documentary site provided by Channel 4. It
allows viewers to upload their own documentaries to the site for
others to view. It focuses on documentaries of between 3 and 5
minutes. The website also includes an archive of classic
documentaries, interviews with documentary filmmakers and short
educational guides to documentary-making. It won a
Peabody Award in
2006. The site also includes a strand for documentaries of under 59
seconds, called 'Microdocs'.
Channel 4 is obliged to carry schools programming as part of its
remit and licence.
ITV Schools On Channel 4
ITV Schools On Channel 4
Since 1957 ITV had produced schools programming, which became an
obligation. In 1987, five years after the station was launched, the
IBA afforded ITV free carriage of these programmes during Channel 4's
then-unused weekday morning hours. This arrangement allowed the ITV
companies to fulfil their obligation to provide schools programming,
whilst allowing ITV itself to broadcast regular programmes complete
with advertisements. During the times in which schools programmes were
aired Central Television provided most of the continuity with play-out
originating from Birmingham.
Channel 4 Schools/4Learning
After the restructuring of the station in 1993, ITV's obligations to
provide such programming on Channel 4's airtime passed to Channel 4
itself, and the new service became
Channel 4 Schools, with the new
corporation administering the service and commissioning its
programmes, some still from ITV, others from independent producers.
In 2000, the service was renamed 4Learning, and in April 2007, the
commercial arm and rights exploitation of its programmes and support
materials was sold to Espresso Education and the business renamed
Channel 4 Learning . Today, the service has diversified into
pre-school and adult programmes, with much of its content also
available in text and video form via the Internet, or through DVD
sales. Its programming runs to around 400 hours per annum. One of its
well-known programmes is
The Hoobs .
In March 2008, the 4Leaning interactive new media commission
slabovia.tv was launched. The Slabplayer online media player showing
TV shows for teenagers was launched on 26 May 2008.
Channel 4 Learning site.
The schools programming has always had elements different to its
normal presentational package. In 1993, the
Channel 4 Schools idents
featured famous people in one category, with light shining on them in
front of an industrial looking setting supplemented by instrumental
calming music. This changed in 1996 with the circles look to numerous
children touching the screen, forming circles of information then
picked up by other children. The last child would produce the channel
4 logo in the form of three vertical circles, with another in the
middle and to the left containing the
Channel 4 logo.
A present feature of presentation was a countdown sequence featuring,
in 1993 a slide with the programme name, and afterwards an extended
sequence matching the channel branding. In 1996, this was an extended
ident with timer in top left corner, and in 1999 following the
adoption of the squares look, featured a square with timer slowly make
its way across the right of the screen with people learning and having
fun while doing so passing across the screen. It finished with the
Channel 4 logo box on the right of the screen and the name 'Channel 4
Schools' being shown. This was adapted in 2000 when the services name
was changed to '4Learning'. In 2001, this was altered to various
scenes from classrooms around the world and different parts of school
life. The countdown now flips over from the top, right, bottom and
left with each second, and ends with four coloured squares, three of
which are aligned vertically to the left of the
Channel 4 logo, with
is contained inside the fourth box. The tag 'Learning' is located
directly beneath the logo. The final countdown sequence lasted between
2004 and 2005 and featured a background video of current controversial
issues, overlaid with upcoming programming information. the video
features people in the style of graffiti enacting the overuse of CCTV
cameras, fox hunting, computer viruses and pirate videos,
relationships, pollution of the seas and violent lifestyles. Following
2005, no branded section has been used for Schools programmes.
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Numerous genres of film-making – such as comedy, drama,
documentary, adventure/action, romance and horror/thriller – are
represented in the channel's schedule. From the launch of Channel 4
until 1998, film presentations on C4 would often be broadcast under
the "Film on Four" banner.
In March 2005,
Channel 4 screened the uncut
Lars von Trier film The
Idiots , which includes unsimulated sexual intercourse, making it the
first UK terrestrial channel to do so. The channel had previously
screened other films with similar material but censored and with
warnings. The broadcast after midnight only raised one complaint and
has been taken as an indication of how far audience values have
changed since the channel began.
Since 1 November 1998,
Channel 4 has had a digital subsidiary channel
dedicated to the screening of films. This channel launched as a paid
subscription channel under the name "FilmFour", and was relaunched in
July 2006 as a free-to-air channel under the current name of "
Film4 channel carries a wide range of film productions, including
acquired and Film4-produced projects. Channel 4's general
entertainment channels E4 and
More4 also screen feature films at
certain points in the schedule as part of their content mix.
A season of television programmes about masturbation , called Wank
Week, was to be broadcast in the
United Kingdom by
Channel 4 in March
2007. The first show was about a
Masturbate-a-thon , a public mass
masturbation event, organised to raise money for the sexual health
Marie Stopes International . Another film would have focused
on compulsive male masturbators and a third was to feature the sex
Betty Dodson .
The series came under public attack from senior television figures,
and was pulled amid claims of declining editorial standards and
controversy over the channel's public service broadcasting
On 8 March 2007
Channel 4 screened the highly controversial
The Great Global Warming Swindle . The programme states
that global warming is "a lie" and "the biggest scam of modern times".
The programme's accuracy has been disputed on multiple points and
several commentators have criticised it for being one-sided, noting
that the mainstream position on global warming is supported by the
scientific academies of the major industrialised nations There were
246 complaints to
Ofcom as of 25 April 2007, including the complaints
that the programme falsified data. The programme has been criticised
by scientists and scientific organisations and various scientists
which participated in the documentary claimed their views had been
Against Nature : An earlier controversial
Channel 4 programme made by
Martin Durkin which was also critical of the environmental movement
and was charged by the
Independent Television Commission of the UK for
misrepresenting and distorting the views of interviewees by selective
The Greenhouse Conspiracy : An earlier
Channel 4 documentary
broadcast on 12 August 1990, as part of the Equinox series, in which
similar claims were made. Three of the people interviewed (Lindzen,
Michaels and Spencer) were also interviewed in The Great Global
Warming Swindle .
AHMADINEJAD\'S CHRISTMAS SPEECH
In the Christmas address of 2008, a
Channel 4 tradition since 1993,
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made a thinly veiled attack on
the United States by claiming that Christ would have been against
"bullying, ill-tempered and expansionist powers".
A spokeswoman for the FCO said: “President Ahmadinejad has, during
his time in office, made a series of appalling anti-Semitic
statements. The British media are rightly free to make their own
editorial choices, but this invitation will cause offence and
bemusement not just at home but among friendly countries abroad.”
CRAZY ABOUT ONE DIRECTION
On 15 August 2013,
Channel 4 aired a 45-minute documentary on One
Direction and their fans dubbed as "Directioners". Following the
airing, fans from all over the world, went on social media in rage
against the documentary arguing that this was not them.
4Talent is an editorial branch of Channel 4's commissioning wing,
which co-ordinates Channel 4's various talent development schemes for
film, television, radio, new media and other platforms and provides a
showcasing platform for new talent.
There are bases in London,
Birmingham , Glasgow and
Belfast , serving
editorial hubs known respectively as 4Talent National, 4Talent Central
Scotland and 4Talent Northern Ireland. These four
sites include features, profiles and interviews in text, audio and
video formats, divided into five zones: TV, Film, Radio, New Media and
Extras, which covers other arts such as theatre, music and design.
4Talent also collates networking, showcasing and professional
development opportunities, and runs workshops, masterclasses, seminars
and showcasing events across the UK.
4Talent has an active presence on social networking site
See also 4Talent.
4Talent magazine is the creative industries magazine from 4Talent,
which launched in 2005 (originally titled TEN4 magazine) under the
editorship of Dan Jones. 4Talent Magazine is currently edited by Nick
Carson. Other staff include deputy editor Catherine Bray and
production editor Helen Byrne. The magazine covers rising and
established figures of interest in the creative industries, a remit
including film, radio, TV, comedy, music, new media and design.
Subjects are usually UK-based, with contributing editors based in
Northern Ireland, Scotland, London and Birmingham, but the publication
has been known to source international content from Australia,
America, continental Europe and the Middle East. The magazine is
frequently organised around a theme for the issue, for instance giving
half of November 2007's pages over to profiling winners of the annual
An unusual feature of the magazine's credits is the equal prominence
given to the names of writers, photographers, designers and
illustrators, contradicting standard industry practice of more
prominent writer bylines. It is also recognisable for its 'wraparound'
covers, which use the front and back as a continuous canvas – often
produced by guest artists.
Although 4Talent Magazine is technically a newsstand title, a
significant proportion of its readers are subscribers. It started life
as a quarterly 100-page title, but has since doubled in size and is
now published bi-annually.
Channel 4 has, since its inception, broadcast identical programmes
and continuity 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 had long established traditions of
providing regional variations in their programming in different areas
of the country. Since the launch of subsequent British television
Channel 4 has become typical in its lack of regional
A few exceptions exist to this rule for programming and continuity:
Some of Channel 4's schools' programming (1980s/early '90s) were
regionalised due to differences in curricula between different
Part of Channel 4's remit covers the commissioning of programmes from
Channel 4 has a dedicated director of nations and
Stuart Cosgrove , 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 London.
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 regions: London, South, Midlands, North, Northern
Ireland and Scotland.
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
terrestrial transmissions spill over into Wales. The Republic of
Ireland shares its advertising region with
Northern Ireland (referred
Channel 4 as the 'Ulster Macro') with many advertisers selling
products for Ireland here. E4 has an advertising variant for Ireland,
Northern Ireland receives the UK version of E4. The six
regions are also carried on satellite, cable and Digital Terrestrial.
Channel 5 and
ITV Breakfast use a similar model to
Channel 4 for
providing their own advertising regions, despite also having a single
national output of programming.
Despite the Republic of Ireland not being in the UK,
Channel 4 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 is not available on
Channel 4 on Sky in Ireland. In recent
years a Republic of Ireland advertising opt-out has been added to this
FUTURE POSSIBILITY OF REGIONAL NEWS
ITV plc 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 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.
CHANNEL 4 HD
Channel 4 HD
Channel 4 HD logo used from 2007 until 2015.
Channel 4 ran a six-month closed trial of HDTV , as part
of the wider Freeview HD experiment via the Crystal Palace transmitter
to London and parts of the home counties , including the use of Lost
Desperate Housewives as part of the experiment, as US broadcasters
such as ABC already have an HDTV back catalogue.
On 10 December 2007,
Channel 4 launched a high definition television
Channel 4 on Sky 's digital satellite platform, after Sky
agreed to contribute toward the channel's satellite distribution
costs. It was the first full-time high definition channel from a
terrestrial UK broadcaster.
On 31 July 2009,
Virgin Media added
Channel 4 HD
Channel 4 HD on channel 146
(later on channel 142, now on channel 141) as a part of the M pack.
On 25 March 2010
Channel 4 HD
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
Channel 4 HD
Channel 4 HD was added to
Freesat on channel 126. As a
consequence, the channel moved from being free-to-view to free-to-air
on satellite during March 2011. With the closure of
S4C Clirlun in
Wales on 1 December 2012, on Freeview,
Channel 4 HD
Channel 4 HD launched in Wales
on 2 December 2012.
The channel carries the same schedule as Channel 4, broadcasting
programmes in HD when available, acting as a simulcast. Therefore, SD
programming is broadcast upscaled to HD. The first true HD programme
to be shown was the 1996 Adam Sandler film Happy Gilmore. From launch
until 2016 the presence of the 4HD logo on screen denoted true HD
On 1 July 2014,
Channel 4 +1 HD, a timeshift of
Channel 4 HD,
launched on Freeview channel 110.
All 4 is a video on demand service from Channel 4, launched in
November 2006 as 4oD. The service offers a variety of programmes
recently shown on Channel 4, E4 ,
More4 or from their archives, though
some programmes and movies are not available due to rights issues.
Channel 4 originally licensed an ancillary teletext service to
provide schedules, programme information and features. The original
service was called 4-Tel, and was produced by Intelfax, a company set
up especially for the purpose. It was carried in the 400s on Oracle .
In 1993, with Oracle losing its franchise to
Teletext Ltd , 4-Tel
found a new home in the 300s, and had its name shown in the header
row. Intelfax continued to produce the service and in 2002 it was
TELETEXT ON 4
Channel 4 awarded
Teletext Ltd a ten-year contract to run
the channel's ancillary teletext service, named Teletext on 4. This
has now ceased and Teletext is no longer available on Channel 4, ITV
and Channel 5.
AWARDS AND NOMINATIONS
Diversity in Media Awards
Broadcaster of the Year
Channel 4 Sheffield Pitch competition
List of television stations in the United Kingdom
* Big 4
3 Minute Wonder
Channel 4 Banned season
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* Official website