Channel 4 is ramping up its use of social networking and sharing sites such as MySpace and YouTube as it puts "community at the core of its online strategy".
The channel is planning to regularly leak news, clips and information about forthcoming shows, services and events on to the sites. It is planning to extend it to other platforms such as photo-sharing site Flickr and online, user-generated encyclopedia Wikipedia. It will also include branded downloadable "widgets" – tools that upload content to engage audience.
C4 head of marketing, new media, Tracy Blacher confirms the plans and that it is "looking at broadening" the strategy as a way of engaging audiences. She adds that the plans follow the success of a MySpace page for new teen show Skins. The site was "beyond expectations" and signed up 26,000 "friends" before the show had even aired.
Blacher says that seeding content online in various locations engages consumers where they are but she adds that content also drives people to the core C4.com site. She says that interaction and dialogue such as offering users the chance to win prizes and upload contents are also important.
In a separate move, C4 has appointed CheetahMail, the Experian-owned e-mail marketing and Web analytics company, to spearhead an online marketing drive aimed at attracting new viewers and encouraging audience loyalty for 4oD, its recently launched on-demand service.
The marketing drive will include a permission-based e-mail marketing campaign and other activities such as event-triggered email campaigns to coincide with the arrival of new content.