Channel 4 breaks £1bn annual revenue mark for first time

Digital advertising revenue was up by 40% on 2020 figures.

Channel 4: posted record-breaking results for 2021
Channel 4: posted record-breaking results for 2021

Channel 4 has reported its strongest year of revenue and financial surplus in its near 40-year history.

The publicly owned, ad-funded broadcaster grew revenue by 28% to £1.2bn in 2021 with a financial surplus of £101m. 

Channel 4’s growth exceeded rival ITV, which grew its overall revenue by 24% to £3.4bn, including a 24% lift in ad revenue to £1.96bn.

Digital advertising revenue grew by 40% and Channel 4’s share of the digital ad market between UK broadcasters – mostly through BVODs – was 35%, ahead of its 28% share of linear television advertising. 

Channel 4 is moving towards being a digital-first broadcaster and has grown the share of digital revenues to 19% of its overall revenues, which is up from 17% last year. It plans to generate 30% of its ad revenues from digital by 2025.

Its streaming service All 4 notched up 1.5 billion views in 2021 – up 21% year on year – and has a target of two billion views by 2025.

The broadcaster claims 80% of the UK’s 16- to 34-year-olds are registered with All 4.

“One of the main tenets of Future 4 (five-year plan) was to prioritise digital viewing over linear,” Channel 4 chief executive Alex Mahon said. “This now drives most of our commissioning and scheduling decisions, and reaped massive rewards in 2021.

“We look at digital performance as our priority metric.”

Today, Channel 4 publicly revealed plans to invest more money and resources into the UK's nations and regions. This includes increasing the number of roles outside London to 600, boosting investment in regional productions and expanding its 4Skills training programme.

The government recently decided to privatise the business following a public consultation.

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