Channel 4 has signed up Nintendo to sponsor a new comedy initiative, 4Laughs, which asks viewers to send in their own ideas and sketches. It is due to be launched this autumn.
The deal extends the existing relationship the broadcaster has with the firm. Last year Nintendo signed a 1.8m deal as the first official sponsor of Channel 4’s original comedy programming.
Channel 4 has already launched an open invitation for the public to send in comedy sketches and is running a blog and forum on its site around the new service.
Websites, such as YouTube, which allow users to upload their own content are growing in popularity at the moment but Channel 4 New Media managing director Andy Taylor says that the channel is still looking at how user-generated content from the web can link with TV.
He adds: "This really is the furthest we’ve gone towards the YouTube side of things. There is a role for YouTube but people get tired of all the crap. We think there is a role for Channel 4 to play, acting as the editor of choice. We can take that role into user-generated content."
The broadcaster is working with TV production company Baby Cow and Conker Media, an associate company of Mersey Television on the new service.
Channel 4 already has a similar scheme for unsigned bands. It encourages them to send demos to its site and the highest rated bands are given money to make a video, which then gets airplay on E4 Music Zone.