Millions of Brits receive major free TV upgrade as Channel 4 reveals new app revamp

CHANNEL 4 has given its streaming app a major makeover, with a sleek new design and even better, personalised recommendations.

The British broadcaster has been sharpening its elbows as it looks to on take the wider streaming industry with its digital-first strategy.

The upgrade follows a string of complaints made to Ofcom regarding the app in December 2023

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The upgrade follows a string of complaints made to Ofcom regarding the app in December 2023Credit: Channel 4
With the updated Channel 4 app, viewers can enjoy a show-centric design that boasts a 1500-show-strong library of content

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With the updated Channel 4 app, viewers can enjoy a show-centric design that boasts a 1500-show-strong library of contentCredit: Channel 4

By 2030, Channel 4 intended to be a digital-first public streaming service.

And for that, it needs a glossy new app.

With the updated Channel 4 app – previously known as All4 and 4OD – viewers can enjoy a show-centric design that boasts a 1500-show-strong library of content.

It’s also easier to navigate.

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The broadcaster is aiming to give “a viewing experience which mirrors what streamers expect from apps, with easy to browse episode grids tailored for viewing on the go”.

There is also better audio description, sign-language and sub-titles signposting, as well as improved guidance options around ratings, accessibility, and stream definition.

“All Channel 4 streamers – whether they access via channel4.com or one of its Apps – can also now enjoy improved personalised recommendations, based on Channel 4’s distinctive remit and viewers’ tastes,” the broadcaster said.

“ Changes include the ordering of content, blending Channel 4’s recommendations with streamers’ viewing history, plus, a ‘recency boost’, where show recommendations prioritise recently watched shows.”

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The upgrade follows a string of complaints made to Ofcom regarding the app in December 2023.

Users complained the app suffered from glitches and a number of navigation difficulties.

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Taking on Big Stream

By Millie Turner, Technology and Science Reporter

By taking on the global Big Stream industry, Britain’s homegrown Channel 4 will have to undergo some changes.

First, it’s taking its turning its attention to the digital.

And this means: a sparkly new app.

Beyond the cosmetics, Channel 4 has pledged to bolster its overseas content, following hit-classics like ER, The X Files and Dance Moms.

It will also drop more box sets including We Are Lady Parts (series 2), and even exclusive content that only appears in-app.

Streaming exclusives that are already in the works include UNTOLD: The Rise and Rise of Taylor Swift, which is apparently “coming soon”.

Whether Channel 4 will have what it takes to stay afloat in an increasingly competitive streaming landscape remains to be seen.

What will be crucial is its ability to appeal to an international audience and let overseas viewers in on a little more Britishness (in all its forms).

For that, the broadcaster will have to dismantle its geo-restriction policy which allows only viewers from the UK to watch it.

Otherwise, it might find itself islanded against the Netflix, Disney+ and Prime Video bloc.

Channel 4 streamers can look forward to a content line-up that’s distinctive, entertaining and truly stands out – with our commissions reflecting our Britishness, purpose and irreverent attitude that speaks to young audiences

Kiran Nataraja, Director of Streaming and Content Strategy at Channel 4

That being said, becoming a go-to destination for Gen Z viewers might just save Channel 4’s chances in fiercely competitive streaming sector.

Kiran Nataraja, Director of Streaming and Content Strategy at Channel 4, hinted that the broadcaster was trying to entice “young audiences” with its latest revamp.

“Channel 4 streamers can look forward to a content line-up that’s distinctive, entertaining and truly stands out – with our commissions reflecting our Britishness, purpose and irreverent attitude that speaks to young audiences,” he said.

“We’re also going to give audiences a more seamless, connected and accessible viewing experience across all of Channel 4’s services and platforms. These enhancements support our plan to become the first public service streamer.”

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