Written by TV

Channel Four Shuffle

Media Guardian has details of a proposed new Channel Four service that’s supposedly going to appear on-air later this year. From what I can tell it’s a traditional linear channel – just one that gives multiple additional opportunities for viewers to catch Channel Four programmes at other times across the week.
The odd thing is that for the most part, there are already plenty of opportunities already to catch up on that programming. There are +1 versions of most of the Channel Four services, although admittedly their availability varies by platform. And just about every major Channel Four programme gets at least one repeat on the main service later in the week at a later hour. When it comes to E4 or More 4, there are usually multiple opportunities. Indeed, looking at E4 and More4’s schedules, I’m surprised that they don’t repeat their premium series like Skins more than they actually do.
In a day and age when more and more, people are watching services like Channel Four’s very own 4OD service, on their TV sets, the idea of scheduling narrative repeats seems less relevant.
It’s interesting, for example, that Sky One – a channel that you might expect to repeat programmes many times over the course of a week – is only broadcasting a single same week repeat of their big new series Mad Dogs. Of course Sky does already have Sky Anytime (And the programme does get a couple of outings on Sky 2).
I’m not saying it’s a terrible idea. But Freeview spaces aren’t cheap, and I can’t help thinking that a better strategy would be to broaden the availability of 4OD on connected devices. For example, my 2011 Sony Blu-ray player has BBC iPlayer and Channel 5’s catchup offerings available, but nothing from either Channel Four or ITV. With the growth of streaming services, lots more people are going to be using the likes of LoveFilm, Netflix and Sky to view on demand programming during 2012. Get in the mix!