Next week Channel 4 will launch 4seven, a free on-demand catch-up service that’s coming to Sky, Virgin Media and Freeview as well as a pair of iPhone and iPad apps.
In a nutshell, it’s Channel 4’s equivalent of BBC iPlayer. 4seven gives you access to “the most popular and talked about Channel 4 shows from the last seven days,” much like the BBC’s pink and black catch-up portal.
It also acts as a counterpoint to 4oD, Channel 4’s archive of classics like Black Books, the Inbetweeners and Peep Show.
As well as acting as an on-demand platform, 4seven will be a digital TV channel in its own right. Though channel numbers aren’t yet known, it’s been announced that the service will be coming to Sky, Virgin Media and Freeview, with some Freeview viewers needing to retune their boxes.
Channel 4: 4seven coming to Sky, Virgin Media and Freeview
Channel 4’s chief executive David Abraham has said that 4seven will be “scheduled in close harmony with all our other channels,” so we don’t expect it to be too far away from the likes of FilmFour, E4 and More 4.
Note that not all of Channel 4’s programmes will be available to watch on-demand. Abraham says that:
“4seven will give viewers more chances to catch the most popular and talked about Channel 4 shows from the last seven days. It will schedule the main channel content that is creating noise - amongst social media, bloggers, commentators and of course via contact our viewers have directly with us - and incorporate this buzz into the look and feel of the channel.”
So, programmes expected to trend heavily on Twitter - Made In Chelsea, Come Dine With Me, 24 Hours in A&E - will likely be included. We’ll know more next week when the channel and the iOS apps launch, so stay tuned for updates.
Next week also sees the launch of YouView, which lets viewers jump back into the programme guide to catch up on any missed programmes. It'll be interesting to see how, if at all, 4seven integrates into this; we'll be at the launch event for YouView so we'll know for sure next Wednesday.