C4 mulls multi-channel expansion



UK's Channel 4, the state-owned commercial broadcaster, is putting £90 million (E135 million) behind a series of new ventures, including the launch of several digital channels, as it aims to retain its share of viewing in the multi-channel market.

The £90 million investment fund, has been set up following two years of restructuring and downsizing at the organisation's 4 Ventures unit, which houses its digital channels, multimedia, rights and services businesses.

According to reports, a number of new digital channels with comedy, music and factual-themed stations are all being considered. Rob Woodward, commercial Director of Channel 4, has said it has not yet been decided whether the channels will be free to air or subscription based.

Woodward said he hoped 4 Ventures would increase its contribution to C4's revenues from 18 per cent to between 30 and 40 per cent in five years. He has confirmed that an advertising-financed channel, More 4, will be the first to be launched early next year.