Channel 4 has developed a ratings system that incorporates VoD views and brings some of the detail of the Barb linear system to the on-demand space.

The Online TV Equivalent (OTE) metric combines consolidated Barb TV viewing figures with VoD figures from a C4 panel that mirrors the Barb system.

For the first time, the broadcaster will be able to measure the number of people in front of the screen and the duration of the programme watched for on-demand programming, rather than just the number of videos viewed. C4 would not reveal the size of its VoD panel.

C4 head of content research Rachel Shaw said comparing overnights and online views had previously been like “comparing apples and pears”.

She pointed to the example of Misfits: “From the overnights it looked like it had performed okay, but once you added in how young people consumed that on-demand, both on TV and online, the audience could surge in the space of seven days.”

She added: “It feels like we are missing out a huge chunk of how people behave if we only look at overnight data.”

The broadcaster will initially use the new metric internally and then look to use it externally, including talking to advertisers. It worked with the BBC while developing OTE, which has some shared targets with the corporation’s new Live Plus Seven system.

Shaw said that because of C4’s “younger demographic” the impact of OTE would be “far higher” than for the BBC. Comedy, entertainment, drama, US acquisitions and fact ent programmes are most likely to see the greatest impact from OTE, she added.

Under the OTE system, the first episode of 10 O’Clock Live on 20 January recorded a 9.7% uplift in views. It attracted 1,889,900 viewers across consolidated figures and another 183,519 viewers through the OTE (0-7 days).