April 18, 2024

Channel 4, a UK public broadcaster heavily reliant on advertisements, is upgrading streaming ad formats. This action comes after Channel 4 published the results of a public trial to determine the impact of different streaming ad formats.

Channel 4’s Public Trial on Streaming Ad Formats

Channel 4 started a closed public trial exploring four new streaming advertising formats to see how they can improve the effectiveness of ads. It later conducted a second phase of this trial, where 40 brands participated. This second phase explored optimizing three new streaming formats for advertisers and audiences.

The broadcaster said that the results of this trial confirmed the ad formats would come to the market in 2024. The results demonstrated an 81% increase in long-term brand recall.

This public trial is part of a digital strategy announced by Channel 4. It also follows a move by the broadcaster during the year to merge all Channel 4 services under a single brand, including linear and streaming channels.

The end of this trial also comes after Channel 4 posted positive numbers in October. During the month, the broadcaster hit a record for views made in a single day. The increased viewership follows support for popular shows such as Married at First Sight UK and The Great British Bake Off.

However, the broadcaster is still facing harsh financial conditions and is considering a £75M credit facility. Channel 4’s CEO, Alex Mahon, said the UK TV industry had the worst advertising downturn in 15 years.

In October, Channel 4 had 6.7 billion viewers, the largest number ever posted by the broadcaster since November 2021.

Improving Ad Experiences

The new ad formats announced by Channel 4 include Solus, where advertisers have a single ad in the pre-roll and a first ad in mid-program ad breaks. The Solus ad format posted a 73% increase in brand recall immediately after the trial started and an 81% increase a few days after exposure.

The other ad format is Lite, where an advertiser runs in limited breaks of 60 seconds. This format posted a 44% improvement in brand recall and a 23% increase in brand affinity.

The integration of the new ad formats saw improved viewer experiences. Nine in ten viewers said short breaks were memorable. 55% of viewers were less likely to avoid new ad formats, while 54% said they were paying more attention.

Brands are also enjoying the positive effects of this deal. Those who participated in the trial saw a 72% gain in ad recall. This number increased to 98% for those aged between 16 and 34. The trial also detected that the highest ad loads by Channel 4 were ten times more effective.

The new ad formats have improved the experiences of streaming viewers, with 36% saying they had better experiences. 46% of young viewers have also received these ad formats positively.

Jonathan Lewis, the Head of Commercial Innovation and Partners at Channel 4, is optimistic about these results, demonstrating why Channel 4 is an ideal partner. He also noted that the broadcaster was embracing change to give partners access to the best way of increasing viewership through digital growth.

“Our streaming ad innovation further sets us apart in the industry as we generate the commercial returns from our work to prioritize digital growth and become the UK’s public service streamer,” Lewis opined, saying Channel 4 wanted to be a leading public streamer in the UK.


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