The big revamp of Channel 4’s catch-up and streaming service, All4, is now underway – and the app’s new name and branding are being gradually rolled out across multiple devices.
As we reported last year, Channel 4 decided to change the name of its long-running streaming service, All4, to… “Channel 4”.
Later on, the channel’s other properties – such as E4 and More4 – will also get new branding under the global ‘Channel 4’ brand.
This week, users across the UK started seeing All4 transform into Channel 4, but only on some platforms, for now. As of this writing, for example, All4 is now Channel 4 on Android and iOS smartphones, but not on Amazon’s Fire TV or on Sky Glass / Stream.
And while there are even paid Google Ads that say “All 4 Is Now Channel 4”, pointing to the channel4.com website – the website still refers to itself as All4 (as of this writing), along with its paid subscription service that’s still called All4+.
Over the coming days and weeks, however, every All4 version, on every platform, is expected to transform into Channel 4.
This means that the linear version of Channel 4, which people watch on Freeview, Freesat and the pay-TV platforms, will have the same name as the channel’s streaming app – a first for a UK broadcaster – as “audiences increasingly no longer distinguish between digital and linear content”, according to Channel 4.
However, some users on social media are already confused by the new name, as they’re now expected to differentiate between the linear Channel 4 channel – and the Channel 4 streaming app.
Other broadcasters’ streaming services in the UK all have their unique names and identities – BBC has iPlayer, Channel 5 has My5, and ITV has the new ITVX.
Channel 4 – One App, Many Names
“Channel 4 Online” started as the Channel Four Television Corporation’s first online platform, offering British viewers an extra layer of media experience, which was meant to complement the channel’s linear version.
Users in those early days were able to stream TV shows along with ‘bonus’ behind-the-scenes footage and other exclusive materials, using advanced technologies (at the time) such as Adobe Flash Player (remember that?).
The platform underwent a significant change in 2006, evolving from Channel 4 Online to 4oD (4 on Demand), a name remembered fondly by many.
4oD was envisioned as a comprehensive video-on-demand platform, enabling users to access a vast majority of Channel 4’s content for free. Like the channel itself, the streaming platform was funded by advertising, allowing viewers to enjoy most of the content without having to pay more.
New content and extensive archives were made available for streaming, attracting a growing audience in both the UK and Ireland.
Then, in 2015, 4oD changed its name again – this time to All4. An optional paid subscription was also added eventually, All4+, which allows users to stream the app’s content without adverts.
All4, which includes both catch-up content and full box-sets from Channel 4’s archives, is available on most of the leading streaming devices sold in the UK, such as Amazon’s Fire TV, Roku, Freeview Play and more.
Sadly, the All4 / Channel 4 app is STILL not available on Freesat’s connected boxes, having left them back in 2018.
All4 – Now Channel 4
This week, the streaming app has come back a full circle – with the rollout of its new name, Channel 4.
As this is a gradual rollout, apps on some devices are still showing the “All4” name, while others have already changed to Channel 4 – but everything will eventually transform into Channel 4.
In addition to changing the name of All4, Channel 4’s entire portfolio of channels will also align with the ‘Channel 4’ brand once the process is over.
New idents have already 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 its mentality to present an unexpected and daring portrait of Britain retold”.
Meanwhile, Channel 4 viewers on social media are already somewhat confused by the new branding.
Ok this is ridiculous.
Why the hell would All4 rebrand as only just Channel 4? This makes no sense at all just to rebrand. Why not keep All4 instead? I get it, the rebrand, but why are they rebranding?
— Doodle Spong Enterprises (MARIO MOVIE RELEASED) (@KPooper2005) April 17, 2023
One of the primary concerns seems to be that the streaming app includes content from Channel 4 as well as from other channels and platforms that belong to Channel 4, such as E4 and More4 – but the new name focuses on… Channel 4 (yes, even writing this sentence is confusing).
Confusing name as Channel 4 is one channel. All4 encompassed that it was a platform for All of 4. Now you can watch E4 and More4 on Channel4 but Channel 4 is also a specific channel that is not E4 or More4. It also implies it is for live streaming only and not on demand.
— An Unearthly Doctor 🇮🇪 (@UnearthlyDoctor) April 17, 2023
Time will tell whether viewers will get used to the new name (as is usually the case) – and how many will continue to call the app All4 – or, even, just stick with 4oD…
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