LONDON: UK commercial broadcaster Channel 4 is to launch a social networking website on the back of its highly successful Big Brother reality TV brand. The service will involve the relaunch of the site, linked to its popular youth television channel.

Channel 4 hopes the site will attract viewers with the prospect of participating in next year's Big Brother show, where contestants will be under TV surveillance 24 hours a day for three months and are periodically voted out by a compliant public.

Users of the new site will be able to post clips of themselves to be rated by other viewers. The most popular 'star' will win a much-coveted place in the Big Brother house.

Citing the popularity of MySpace and YouTube, C4 ceo Andy Duncan says: "Big Brother is also a global phenomenon and we think it is a perfect platform to launch this initiative and propel C4 into one of digital media's fastest-growing marketplaces."

E4 claims to be the most popular digital TV channel among young British viewers and the site will incorporate news and gossip about hit shows, including The OC and Desperate Housewives.

The social networking venture is to be launched in tandem with recently unveiled VOD web plans [WARC News: 17-Nov-06] that Channel Four hopes will secure its digital future.

Data sourced from The Times Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff