Channel 4 has become the latest British broadcaster to ramp up its video-on-demand capabilities as it tests an ad-free version of its All 4 catch-up service, which if successful, could roll out later this year.

The public service broadcaster, which traditionally relies on advertising for its revenue, is inviting selected users to trial the new All 4 + subscription service, which was launched as a small-scale test in late 2018.

The no ads experiment also comes as the All 4 brand is given a visual refresh, with a new logo created by 4Creative, its in-house creative agency, supported by branding agency DixonBaxi.

This is a 2D version of the classic Channel 4 logo, but updated with a streaming bar at its core, which Campaign reported will be rolled out across promotional trails, social media, mobile, TV and desktop.

“We’re innovating on all fronts,” said Richard Davidson-Houston, head of All 4. “The classy new visual identity will help Channel 4 to stay front of mind in video-on-demand and the scaling up of the All 4 + trial shows that we’re getting serious about a paid upgrade to the free service.”

Channel 4’s initiative followed news that the BBC and ITV, two of the largest broadcasters in the UK, confirmed they were in advanced talks to launch a new subscription video-on-demand streaming service in the second half of the year.

And in addition to the launch of BritBox, ITV said that it is looking to improve its own video-on-demand service, ITV Hub, as it seeks to compete with the likes of Netflix and Amazon for viewers’ time.

Channel 4 has yet to confirm whether it would get involved in the BritBox streaming service, but Mediatel reported that it is “widely expected” it would contribute content to the project.

Meanwhile, its revamp of All 4 also includes a new iOS app that it said has been designed to be faster and more reliable. It is reported the app has the ability to start programmes again when watching live and to stream audio-described content on iOS for the first time.

Sourced from Campaign, Mediatel; additional content by WARC staff