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Channel 4: second screen experiment failed to reach scale

Channel-4-logo-drop-shadow-2007 thumbChannel 4’s second screen app experiment, 4Now, failed because the UK broadcaster couldn’t get the level of audience engagement or interaction required, according to Jonathan Lewis.

Speaking at TV Connect this morning, Channel 4’s head of digital and partnership innovation said that while the broadcaster has a remit to be innovative and try new things out, the dual-screen app model didn’t take off.

“We found that we were curating Twitter feeds on a second screen app that were specific for that particular show and it’s not what people wanted,” said Lewis.

“People wanted their own Twitter, they wanted to be engaged with everyone, not just narrowly defining that specific programme or event. It’s something we tried, it’s something that didn’t work.”

Channel 4 launched 4Now as a centralised destination for synchronised TV experiences in 2013, amid much industry hype about ‘second-screen’ companion apps. It was the first UK broadcaster to develop a dedicated app to accompany its channels and programming

Channel 4 used 4Now to provide programme information, social media activity and interactive content like real-time polls, votes and quizzes, as part of its viewer engagement strategy. However, it later shelved the project.

In 2015 it launched All 4, a catch-all digital platform that replaced its previous on-demand service 4oD. This put its linear channels, digital content and other online services together in one place for the first time.