Channel 4 aims to bring ‘provocative and experimental’ values to ad offering

Broadcaster launches short-form video hub and ROI study as it bids to ‘transform’ digital advertising trading. 

Channel 4 Paralympics ad
Channel 4 says it will attempt to apply the “provocative and experimental” values it assigns to its content over to its advertising.

Principal among the announcements at its “Upfronts” event last night (6 November) was the unveiling of short form content brand 4Shorts, a destination that will be housed in its on-demand platform 4oD.

The broadcaster says the investment in 4Shorts represents the growing consumer demand for mobile optimised content. More than 25 per cent of 4oD views are now on mobile, compared with just 5 per cent last year, Channel 4 says.

4Shorts will include “Extracts” – which uses second-sync Twitter data to showcase clips from the shows most popular on social media – “Extras” – bonus content from shows such as Made in Chelsea and Educating Yorkshire – and “Originals” – where original content, included short-form ad-funded programming (AFP) will sit.

Speaking at the event, Channel 4’s head of digital and partnership innovation, Jon Lewis, said 4Shorts “de-risks the whole AFP challenge” for marketers. Channel 4 will use its production resources to work with advertisers on 4Shorts content to deliver a “huge, premium audience” – 4oD now has 9 million registered users and generates more than 40 million views each month – in a “TV-centric environment”.

Speaking to Marketing Week after the event, Channel 4’s director of marketing and communications Dan Brooke said the launch would be backed with innovative short-form marketing to reflect the purpose of the new video hub.

To back the launch, Lewis revealed the results from its first 4oD demographic targeting initiative, a trial with seven advertisers revealed by Marketing Week in February. h The trial allowed O2, McDonald’s, Nokia, B&Q, Unilever, Microsoft and Bulmers to buy the same audiences they do on TV on 4oD for the first time, blending their own databases with Channel 4’s registered userbase.

The research, conducted by comScore and MTM London, found demographic targeting delivered on average double the uplift for top of mind brand awareness compared with a standard 4oD campaign. The click through rates achieved for demographic targeting more than doubled (109 per cent) when compared to a standard 4oD campaign and even tripled for Nokia when it refined its audience targeting.

Lewis said demographic targeting will “replace” standard campaigns on 4oD in the next few years and has “transformed” the way digital advertising is traded across the industry.

Earlier at the event, Channel 4 sales director Jonathan Allan used BARB data to demonstrate the “X Factor” Channel 4 sales offers compared with Channel 5 and ITV. In particular, he referenced ITV’s 2014 Upfront in which it claimed to broadcast 600 of the top 604 commercial TV programmes.

Allan said while ITV aims for “mass volume”, many of the viewers watching each of its top programmes are the same – but Channel 4 broadcasts 90 per cent of the programmes the often hard to reach “light viewers” watch.

Based on a £1m investment, Allan said Channel 4 Sales is “more than 30 per cent cheaper” per cover point for ABC1s and 16 to 34-year-olds than Channel 5 Sales – a “statistically significant” uplift.

Research house Ohal is set to release an econometric study to demonstrate the ROI of advertising with Channel 4 Sales, which the broadcaster will couple with an interactive dashboard for marketers.

Earlier this year Channel 4 launched a second-screen app to act as a companion across all its programmes, dubbed 4Now. Lewis declared 4Now will “open the doors” for new brands to appear on the app, beyond launch advertiser Diageo.

The drinks maker has found ad awareness for its Baileys and Guinness brands that have appeared in the app is “22 per cent higher” than before. Channel 4 and Diageo are now experimenting with audio-triggered ads on the app, Lewis said.

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