MM Awards

Channel 4 links up with Europe to fight Google and Facebook

Tim Maytom

UK broadcaster Channel 4 has joined an alliance of Europe's biggest television channels to run commercials across its video-on-demand services, in a move that attempts to combat Google and Facebook's domination of online advertising.

Channel 4 will become the exclusive UK partner in the European Broadcaster Exchange (EBX), enabling advertisers to book pan-European campaigns across its All 4 streaming platform and equivalent services operated by France's TF1, Germany's ProSiebenSat1 and Mediaset, which operates in Italy and Spain. According to EBX, the unified VOD services reach over 160m viewers a month.

Channel 4, which broadcasts Great British Bake Off, Catastrophe, First Dates and Gogglebox, has seen use of its All 4 service increase over 20 per cent year-on-year, to more than 60m monthly viewers. As part of joining EBX, the broadcaster has taken a 25 per cent stake in the joint venture for an undisclosed sum.

To accompany the news, Channel 4 has also announced that it is offering 100 per cent targeted advertising across All 4 across every channel, including mobile, tablet, games consoles and smart TVs. At its 2018 Upfronts event, the broadcaster revealed it will have first party data available for every All 4 viewer early next year after mandatory registration is introduced across all platforms, significantly increasing the scale of its personalisation and targeting capabilities.

"From next year every All 4 advertising opportunity will be personalised or targeted which has proven success for brands reflected in our double-digit year-on-year revenue growth for the last several years," said Jonathan Lewis, head of digital and partnership innovation. "And All 4 continues to grow as record-breaking numbers of registered viewers loyally return to the biggest range of entertainment on any on-demand service available for free."

"Channel 4's decision to run commercials across their video-on-demand services is a direct pushback to Facebook and Google's duopoly of digital advertising," said Josh Krichefski, CEO of MediaCom UK. "Both companies which must now be seen as media organisations as much as they are tech organisations already eat up 90 per cent of every new £1 spent on digital advertising, and Channel 4's online video growth has opened up new possibilities to challenge the big hitters.

"This growth is reflective of a trend towards VOD services, not least among young people, where our research showed teens are watching TV on demand most often more so than live TV. And Channel 4 can pull on a pool of content to take advantage of, including the likes of Great British Bake Off and Gogglebox to sate consumer demand of all ages."

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