C4 to launch new digital channel on Freeview



Channel 4 will launch a new digital channel on Freeview by the end of next year.

Mark Thompson, C4's Chief Executive told journalists yesterday (10 June) that he is exploring options for a free-to-air extension. He said the new C4 service was still in its development stage and suggested it could be a factual based service ... or in its early days merely a time shift version of C4. "We are looking at all our options".

He described Freeview as "an interesting platform", and one that will evolve. Mark, who moved to Channel 4 from the BBC last year, predicted that Freeview will grow at the rate of around one million units a year. He argued that its demographic is bound to change from the present dominance of older, richer homes.

He was open minded on the protocol debate saying that the present compromise with ITV and C4 staying at 64-QAM was serving viewers well. He appeared to believe that the long-term future of DTT could still have pay opportunities for some broadcasters.

There will still be two or three remaining slots on the platform once C4's new offering and the 'mystery channel' - CBM - launch.