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Fresh Meat on 4oD

First-run experiment by Channel 4

Lately I've been enjoying "Fresh Meat" on Channel 4 which is a student comedy written by Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain who also worked on "Peep Show". The programme airs on a Wednesday night at 10pm and tonight, straight after Episode 6 of Season 1 had finished, the announcer said that it would be taking a break next week and return in 2 weeks time. She also said that if we couldn't wait that long we could catch Episode 7 straightaway on 4oD.

Lying on the sofa as I was, I grabbed the nearest device (iPad) only to find that Fresh Meat wasn't there. Damn, I'd forgotten that 4oD on iOS has less content than 4oD on the web. So I got up, cracked the laptop open and, eventually, loaded and viewed the latest show.

I say eventually because it took over an hour before I could get the stream to work. That's not a complaint, just an observation. I'm guessing that either 4oD was experiencing some technical difficulties or, more likely, a huge surge of people were trying to watch the programme at the same time which caused some sort of load failure. I'll ask C4 about this tomorrow. For now, here are a few other notes: 

  1. First, congratulations to 4oD for trying this out. As the lines between scheduled and time-shifted viewing on multiple devices become blurred it's good to see a broadcaster experimenting by putting a first-run on the web. Hopefully Channel 4 will release some data about how many people watched Fresh Meat online.
  2. To access the show you had to login or register. Again, I'll need to check this with Channel 4 but does one normally have to do this to watch something on 4oD?
  3. Number of adverts: the running time for Fresh Meat is about 40 minutes. On TV it also contains 2 ad breaks lasting, I guess, about 3 minutes each. If you're watching something like Grand Designs on the iPad however I've noticed that you'll only see one pre-roll (30 seconds) and one ad break in the middle of the programme lasting perhaps a minute. This time, whilst watching Fresh Meat online, the ad breaks were much more like a TV experience - that is, there was a 1 minute pre-roll and 2 mid-rolls each of about 2 minutes. 

    Sorry, after that long explanation what I'm trying to say is that C4 clearly believes that viewers will put up with more ads for premium content. I didn't mind the extra ads at all and I'm guessing many people feel the same.

I'll report back if C4 release any more information. 


Channel 4 have just told me that Fresh Meat has been one of the top performers across all VOD platforms in September (it came 9th in the top 10 list of programmes) and separately, that Episode 7 indeed wasn't available because of high demand:

"Due to unprecedented levels of demand last night we experienced performance problems on 4oD.  Although it was fully up and running within about an hour we are very sorry for those viewers who could not access the site immediately after the TV broadcast.  Fresh Meat ep 7 will be available exclusively on 4oD for the next two weeks so there is still plenty of time for viewers to see the next instalment before its terrestrial transmission."