10 million viewers have now registered with Channel 4. That’s a lot of people. In fact, that’s half of all UK viewers aged between 16 and 24.
With a growing number of people – specifically, young people – signing up to 4oD and giving their details to Channel 4’s voluntary database, the broadcaster is using its Big Data technology to introduce new targeted advertising for video on-demand services.
CEO of Channel 4 David Abraham comments: “The speed at which we have grown our database of registered users in the three years since launch has been overwhelming and to reach 10 million registrations is testament to just how engaged our viewers are and how much they trust the Channel 4 brand.”
Indeed, Channel 4 says that more and more viewers are linking their Facebook, Twitter or Google+ accounts to their accounts, which the broadcaster is using to connect with “known fans of shows” to let them know when their favourite programmes are returning.
The announcement follows Channel 4’s recent removal of its shows from YouTube, where full episodes were available to watch for free – with advertising revenue split between the two companies. While Sky and HBO embrace the idea of offering tasters of shows through YouTube’s platform, offering the full first episode of various series to entice new subscribers, Channel 4 is making viewers go directly to 4oD for their content fix, bumping up its database of registered viewers even higher.
So what does that mean for people streaming their videos? And what is being done with their data?
On 4oD, algorithmically generated recommendations are now being given via the ‘Watch Next’ feature at the end of each video. They have driven a conversion rate to viewing of more than double that of non-registered recommendations. Behaviourally targeted promotional trails are also being used on 4oD to improve “marketing efficiency and effectiveness”. In short, don’t be surprised if you find yourself watching more than you used to.
Gill Whitehead, Director of Audience Technology and Insight, says: “Our big data investment, which is now in profit this year, has enabled Channel 4 to be the first UK broadcaster to take demographically targeted video on demand ads to market. Channel 4 is demonstrating that big data can support creativity – by funding it through advertising premiums and by connecting programmes to the audiences that are most likely to appreciate them”.
But it is not just advertising that the stats are impacting. Data on viewer behaviour will also be used by Channel 4 to make commissioning and marketing decisions.
For those concerned about the use of their data, Channel 4 adds that all of its viewer engagement activity is underpinned by a Viewer Promise, which clearly and transparently states what will and won’t be done with viewers’ personal data – and allows users to control their permissions.