Channel 4 close to major YouTube deal

LONDON - Channel 4 is reportedly close to signing a deal with Google's YouTube that will see the majority of its content hosted in full on the video-sharing site.

The broadcaster has negotiated the right to sell its own advertising around its content and will share the revenues earned with YouTube, according to the Daily Telegraph. It is not clear how the advertising revenue split would work.

YouTube and Channel 4 are believed to have been discussing the move for the past six months.

Channel 4 already has several channels on YouTube, including ones for E4, T4, 4Food, 'Big Brother' and 'Hollyoaks'.

The new deal would offer users a 30-day catch-up window to watch the broadcaster's programmes, similar to its 4oD service.

During a speech at the AOP 3C Summit this week, Channel 4 chairman Luke Johnson said broadcasters need to "take action" and "seize opportunities" when it comes to monetising online content.

A Channel 4-YouTube deal would be the first formal arrangement the video-sharing site has had with a British broadcaster.

It follows the sponsorship deal that Channel 4 secured with Lucozade Energy for its 'Big Brother' series 10 content on YouTube back in June this year.

In a deal that the broadcaster claimed was a media first, Lucozade had a branding presence on Channel 4's 'Big Brother' YouTube channels, branding on all YouTube 'Big Brother' video watch pages, as well as pre-roll ads on every video on the 'Big Brother' YouTube channels.

Other media firms have already secured ad deals with YouTube. IPC, publisher of magazines such as Marie Claire, NME and Nuts, agreed a deal with YouTube in July to sell advertising across its own content on the video-sharing website.

Channel 4 declined to comment.