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Hollyoaks goes global on YouTube

Hollyoaks has become the first UK soap to be available on YouTube in territories worldwide.

The ground-breaking move will, from this week, allow fans around the globe to follow the continuing drama by streaming full sequential episodes for free. It follows the successful launch of full episodes on YouTube in the UK last year, as part of the move to a stream-first model.

The international launch will follow the same pattern as the UK – with daily episodes available one week after their TX on Channel 4-streaming. The episodes will be available on the Hollyoaks official YouTube channel.

International YouTube viewers will initially join Hollyoaks with Episode 6363, originally broadcast on April 20, at Pride celebrations, where amidst fear about Conversion Therapy being practised within the village, Kitty sings Over the Rainbow to the crowd. There will be 20 episodes in total for viewers to stream before joining the same daily drop pattern as UK YouTube subscribers.

The popular continuing drama, produced by All3Media label Lime Pictures, had previously been available on American streaming platform Hulu. The move to YouTube will allow those Hulu fans continued access to their Hollyoaks fix, and reach new international audiences across YouTube’s footprint, where Hollyoaks was not previously available.

Recent viewing figures revealed that Channel 4 flagship digital-first soap has seen nearly 40% YOY growth in streaming views per episode in the first quarter of this year. The youth-skewing show has also seen its social media views rocket, with Snapchat increasing by 350% YOY and TikTok up by 116%.

Full length episodes on YouTube in the UK and Ireland alone saw 5.8M minutes of watch time in Q1 2024, with 67% of views coming from 13 – 34-year-olds.

Lime Pictures joint MD Kate Little said: “Hollyoaks is always synonymous with digital firsts and I am delighted that the show’s global audience will now be able to find and watch episodes when they want on YouTube.

“With a proven track record of enticing younger viewers with gripping storytelling and engaging characters, this digitally-led offering of episodes will allow new and existing audiences worldwide to get their Hollyoaks fix with ease.”

Channel 4 announced that its in-house social agency 4Studio had driven a three-fold year on year increase in UK viewing of full episodes of TV shows in Q1 and it’s made-for-social network Channel 4.0.

Matt Risley, MD, 4Studio said: “We’re hugely excited to see Hollyoaks’ continual growth on YouTube, and this innovative move towards global distribution will only supercharge it further. YouTube is a core viewing platform for young viewers in the UK and abroad, so there’s no better place for us to be reaching new audiences with the best soap on TV.”

The award-winning drama has been on the air since October 1995, and over the years has amassed critical recognition for its daring issue-storylines, much-loved characters, and youthful outlook.

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