C4 Making Old Shows Free On Web, Shutting 4oD App

With no Kangaroo through which to push its long tail, Channel 4 is now resorting to giving away all its back-catalogue shows for free through Channel4.com.

C4 had in April moved its catch-up programming to an upgraded, Flash browser version of its 4oD offering, but had left shows older than 30 days in the pioneering, three-year-old download app, which charged £0.99 each and £1.99 for movies. Now it’s moving over archive shows from the channel’s history including Queer As Folk, Trigger Happy TV and Drop The Dead Donkey. The 4oD app, then, will now be closed.

Finally, a broadcaster has managed to drop VOD pricing, which many viewers would consider excessive for what are essentially “repeats”, in favour of ad funding. C4’s online video ad play has gathered pace in recent weeks, running ads against shows on Virgin Media’s VOD offering and last week now extending its TV sponsorships across in to YouTube pre-rolls.

C4 says 4oD views were up 111 percent a month after the upgrade. The reboot, which let Mac users view videos for the first time, has seen 15 percent of hits come from Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) users. Future media and technology director Jon Gisby, in the release: “The addition of archived content to 4oD on channel4.com means we will be the only UK broadcaster to have all of our content available online.”