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Channel 4 to launch revamped 4oD on web

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Channel 4's 4oD relaunch screenshot

© Channel 4

Channel 4 is to relaunch the version of catch-up TV service 4oD on its website next week with a raft of new features, including more personalisation options and "viewer-driven" recommendations.

4oD generated around 215 million long-form video views on all platforms where it is available in the first half of 2011, making Channel 4 the biggest UK broadcaster in the video on-demand market. The platform offers 30-day catch-up of Channel 4 shows, as well as archive content, such as Peep Show and The Inbetweeners.

Channel 4 has now rebuilt the version of 4oD on Channel4.com from the ground up to offer "fast and efficient" predictive search and "viewer-driven" recommendations.

Launching on August 31, the new service will enable users to create 'My 4oD' for the first time, opening up options for personalisation and customisation of the platform.

'My 4oD' will allow users to create playlists of shows they want to watch in the Channel 4 schedule, as well as keep track of programmes they have watched or started watching. Favourites will be saved in a single place and there will be in-page reminders whenever a new episode of a preferred show becomes available.

The new 4oD player has been optimised to put the video on-demand player as its focal point, using a pop-up control panel for accessing cross navigation, recommendations and My 4oD. This means that users will not have to leave the full screen viewing experience to access 4oD's other features.

Users will be able to more easily discover related and viewer-recommended shows from Channel 4's catch up or archive offering, with search categories such as programme genres and channels.

Recommendations will come from the 'People Also Watched' system showing content enjoyed by other users, and there will also be "handpicked" highlights from 4oD editors

Channel 4's head of video on-demand Sarah Milton said that increasing the availability and usability of 4oD is a "key tenet" of the broadcaster's strategy.

"We have refined and optimised the design to ensure viewers get the best experience from the wealth of content Channel 4 has to offer. We have over 5,000 hours of archive programming available on the Channel4.com 4oD service, and the redesign makes it even easier for users to browse our offering," said Milton.

"'My 4oD' enables viewers who log in to benefit from enhanced playlist, favourites, and history features. Further developing the personalisation potential of the My 4oD area is a key ambition of our Audience, Technologies and Insight team, and their drive towards deepening relationships with our audience, so viewers get the best out of their experience with Channel 4."

Last year, Channel 4's video on-demand service delivered £900,000 in advertising revenue and saw a 71% growth in on-demand programme views, helping the broadcaster's online division to increase its revenues by 34% to £44.3m.

Channel 4 boss David Abraham said in May that the broadcaster has around £35m in spare cash to fuel further "creative renewal" this year, including investment in content and a "continued commitment" to new distribution methods, such as video on-demand.

4oD is currently available on Channel 4's website, along with YouTube, Virgin Media, BT Vision, TalkTalk, PlayStation 3 and, most recently, Apple's iPad app. A 4oD app will launch for iPhone and iPod Touch in September.

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