By Tom Degun

Channel 4 ParalympicsMay 14 - Channel 4 have recorded their first annual loss in four years after the broadcaster injected a large amount of their cash reserves into their high-profile coverage of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Channel 4's annual financial report for 2012 shows that they made an operating loss of £29 million ($44 million/€34 million) last year, compared to surpluses totalling £78 million ($117 million/€90 million) over the previous two years.

The loss was largely expected as part of a planned investment in the Paralympic Games coverage and other programming as Channel 4 spent a record £434 million ($674 million/€501 million) on original content.

"Twenty twelve was a memorable year for Channel 4 as we broadcast the Paralympic Games and invested more in UK content than in our 30-year history," said Channel 4 chief executive David Abraham.

"Deploying part of our cash surplus, built up across 2010 and 2011, our strategy focused on investments in the organisation's long-term future whilst ensuring that we maximised spend on UK content.

"We worked with more suppliers than ever before and broadcast a distinctive and diverse schedule, delivering to our remit on a daily basis.

"One in three of all 16-24 year olds in the UK are now registered with Channel 4 and our data strategy is evolving - eight new advertising products launched across 2012.

"We entered 2013 debt-free with cash reserves of £261 million ($390 million/€300 million) and will look to repeat this strategy of investing in innovation over the course of 2013."

JonniePeacock2012Jonnie Peacock’s London 2012 100 metre T44 win attracted a peak audience of 6.3 million viewers – the biggest UK audience for live Paralympic sport ever

During the London 2012 Paralympics, Channel 4 dedicated 252 hours across Channel 4, 4seven and More 4, as well as the 4oD video on demand platform.

It included 193 hours of Games coverage, as well as 59 hours of analysis and documentary programming showcasing key disability sport.

Across the London 2012 Paralympics as a whole, Channel 4's coverage reached 39.9 million people which is over 69 per cent of the UK population.

This compares to a reach of 20.5 million for the BBC's coverage of the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games.

The London 2012 Paralympic Opening Ceremony was the most watched event of the Games as there was a peak audience of 11.2 million while Jonnie Peacock's 100 metre T44 win attracted a peak audience of 6.3 million viewers – the biggest UK audience for live Paralympic sport ever.

Channel 4 are now set to broadcast the both the Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016 Paralympics following a unique two-Games deal that they agreed with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) earlier this year.

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