On the day of Channel 4’s 40th birthday there was unexpected news from the broadcaster.
Its on demand service and spinoff channels are to be rebranded with the Channel 4 name.
The on-demand service will simply be known as Channel 4 but the exact branding of the spinoff channels has not been revealed.
Could they be known, for example, as Channel 4 Film, More Channel 4 and Channel 4 Seven? Good luck to whoever can find a name for E4 – E Channel 4, Channel 4 E4?
But the idea of using the Channel 4 name as the masterbrand makes sense.
Channel 4 today announced that from next year it will bring all its channels and services under one ‘Channel 4’ brand to help audiences better navigate the abundance of choice in the digital world and find their favourite Channel 4 shows wherever and whenever they choose to watch content.
‘All 4’ will change to ‘Channel 4’ as Channel 4 becomes the first UK broadcaster to adopt one brand identity across its digital and linear channels as audiences increasingly no longer distinguish between digital and linear content. Channel 4’s entire portfolio of channels will also align with the ‘Channel 4’ brand.
The brand transformation follows Channel 4’s commitment to prioritise digital growth, place viewers at the heart of its decision-making and renew its relationship with young audiences as part of its Future4 strategy launched two years ago.
For 40 years Channel 4 has cultivated a strong brand identity which is synonymous with bold, purpose-led programming. Viewers know when they see the iconic ‘Channel 4’ logo that it is a destination for different shows which represent the rich diversity of the UK, challenge the status quo and will entertain them with its unique irreverence and mischief!
New idents have been commissioned as part of the brand transformation. Working in collaboration with a number of British artists and filmmakers, Channel 4’s award-winning 4creative will seek to represent the UK, its culture and mentality to present an unexpected and daring portrait of Britain retold.
The brand transformation will begin from spring 2023.Channel 4 Press Release (2nd November 2022)
Up until now, the “4” alone has been the linking theme – effectively the number alone has been the masterbrand. The problem is there are other channels with a 4 in the name – BBC Four, ITV 4.
The renaming brings the family of Channel 4 channels closer together.
But will it reflect well on Channel 4 as an entity or dilute its brand?
Perhaps you might like to see the different Channel 4 channels collectively as an eclectic range of outlets for different programmes – rather like the main channel in isolation once was.
It looks as if Channel 4 has escaped the threat of privatisation by the skin of its teeth.
The apparent public apathy towards the idea – despite the active hostility of many in the media – should have spooked some at the channel.
It would seem the public no longer regard Channel 4 as special although the economic arguments against privatisation seemed very convincing – few but the Treasury looked likely to positively benefit.
However it would seem inevitable that privatisation will come up again at some point.
If Channel 4 commissions more programmes which are obviously unlike those on other commercial channels, then hopefully it will be easier for the public to see what could be at risk.
More Derry Girls, Walter Presents and It’s a Sin. Less Naked Attraction and stacked up lifestyle and schlock.
Clearly it is important going forward to judge the whole range of its services – Film Four, for instance, shows some material you would never see on other free-to-air channels.
So raising the profile of the Channel 4 brand may certainly help Channel 4 win back more of its natural supporters.
But a more consistently distinctive schedule would help even more.
PICTURED: 1980s Channel 4 sting. COPYRIGHT: Channel 4 Television Corporation.