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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