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Channel 4 moves into e-commerce

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Channel 4 has branched into e-commerce for the first time with its new 4Beauty website.

The UK television channel’s 4Beauty aims to build on the popularity of Channel 4 shows such as How to Look Naked and The Ugly Face of Beauty. Features of the site include articles, videos and style advice.

E-commerce is introduced for the first time through a Product Review Finder and a Style Me tool, which will bring together reviews and ratings with the ability for users to buy products, from make-up to clothes.

The Channel 4 website shows the product details, which link to the product on a relevant store partner’s website to make the final purchase.

The move, says the channel, signals the start of a push to widen its online sources of revenue beyond display advertising. At its heart is a move to strengthen its relationship with an audience of 20 to 45-year-old women.

Smartphone apps, premium content and new commercial partnerships will be unveiled later this year and early next.

James Tatam, verticals publisher at Channel 4, said: “4Beauty signals the beginning of a shift for our online lifestyle activities as businesses.

“While we will continue to provide advertisers with the best content and interaction environments for their brands to connect with our audiences, we think commercial growth will come from a wider range of commercial partners and consumers themselves.

“Our next generation of services, starting with 4Beauty, will unlock this growth.”

Channel 4’s 4Food and 4Homes sites will be relaunched later this year.

Our view: This is an interesting and entirely logical move from a broadcaster. Broadcaster websites have become rich with content in recent years, with the social side of e-commerce already cracked. All that was required to take it into retail was the ability to buy – though it since won’t be handling the goods or transactions itself the channel is still some way short of being a retailer.

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