Channel 4 has finally reached an agreement with Pact, the organisation that represents independent producers in the UK, opening an exclusive 30-day window for the broadcaster to exploit its programmes via video-on-demand services on all available platforms.

In the last-minute deal, the broadcaster succeeded in holding out for the exclusive window, enabling it to launch a series of video-on-demand channels in the autumn across all major on-demand platforms, including personal computers and cable television. The channel has undertaken that all its commissioned programmes will be made available via its proposed VOD to PC service.

Under the terms of the agreement, the broadcaster will have the exclusive right to distribute its programmes on its own VOD service on a free, pay-per-view, or subscription package basis for 30 days after the first transmission of the programme on Channel 4. Producers will receive either an equal share of revenue or a guaranteed ‘royalty’ payment if the service is offered free.

The deal gives the parties the option to agree rights for a longer period and keeps Channel 4 commissions off rival VOD services for a further 5 months.

“This deal is of major importance to Channel 4 in securing us the exclusive 30-day window we need to launch a full on-demand service in the autumn and protection for the Channel 4 brand,” chief executive Andy Duncan said in a statement.

The BBC previously agreed its own deal on different terms. Other terrestrial broadcasters are expected to come to their own agreements.

Whether this will all make sense to the viewer is another matter, as they tend to watch programmes, rather than channels or brands, and may not understand why some programmes are available on some platforms for certain periods and not on others.