How Channel 4’s is finding new audiences on TikTok and Snapchat

Channel 4 was crowed the Outstanding Digital Team of the year at The Drum Awards for Online Media 2022. Here’s how it has been experimenting on new platforms to find untapped audiences.

Despite the challenges 2021 presented to all broadcasters, the Channel 4 News digital team continued to innovate and bring news to more young people across more platforms than ever before – even as it navigated the challenges of pandemic restrictions.

It remains a small team in comparison to the big 24-hour news outlets. Nevertheless, it constantly punched above its weight in global and domestic news, both in terms of reach and rigor.

Doubling down on Snapchat

This year has seen Channel 4 move more expertly into the Snapchat space. It launched two new series focusing on global politics, which could not feel more relevant amid the scramble to cover a war many hoped would never happen. Called Divided World and What In the World, they explain our ever changing world.

In the last year it has had 3.5 million unique viewers on Snapchat, with massive growth on its new channel – that equates to over 6m minutes viewed on the platform.

Experimenting on TikTok

This was the first year Channel 4 News moved into TikTok, wanting to bring more accurate, accessible and digestible news to an audience that was often underserved with that content. On there, it has broken stories, challenged fake news and built a large audience of exclusively young, British viewers who are turning to it in droves to figure out how to deal with the first war many have been aware of in their lifetime.

On the Ukraine crisis, it has focused on simple messaging, factual news, explainers and fact checking. The comments from viewers – who tend to be school age – speak for themselves: “I can just say thank you for explaining it more”, “I’m being honest, you put that really well!”, “Thank u this has made me so much less worried thank I (sic) so much for keeping us updated”, “Can I just say thanks, I dint (sic) get it before and I was worried lol”.

The factcheck team takes on the platforms

The Factcheck team continues to fight for truth with articles and videos holding the government to account in what can seem like a post-truth world. But in 2021, this division focuses on the digital platforms, decoding the science of vaccines and dispelling Covid myths with dozens of articles, podcast episodes and explainer videos. It took the government to task with exclusive analysis revealing hundreds of unlawful transparency failures in PPE procurement, holes in England’s school Covid testing policy and misleading Home Office claims about funding to help victims of domestic violence, which even invoked the wrath of the UK statistics regulator.

This project was a winner at The Drum Awards for Online Media 2022. Check out which of The Drum Awards are currently open for entry.