C4 pilots online betting scheme

Channel 4 is testing online betting, which could appear on its digital terrestrial service later this year.

The online service will be linked to its highly regarded racing coverage. The project is in its early stages and the broadcaster has yet to approach any potential partners such as betting organisations like Ladbrokes.

However, Ladbrokes is already the backer of an interactive TV system called Two Way TV, and invested 11m in the venture last year.

C4 director of strategy and development David Brook refuses to comment on the move.

But another senior source co-ordinating the channel’s digital organisation admits: “We have been looking at online racing during the past few months. C4 racing is a strong property for us and this may be a way to exploit it.”

C4 is keen to maximise its high-profile brand image in the terrestrial TV market and exploit its strongest properties.

The broadcaster is also known to be looking at setting up a pay-TV movie channel, which will show a mixture of UK-made films and world cinema.

The channel is ranked 28th on the list of European media owners, with revenues of 414m last year, according to Zenith Media research on Europe’s top 50 media companies.

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