Channel 4 unveils AI-powered contextual advertising tech

Channel 4  has unveiled AI-driven TV advertising technology that enables the broadcaster to place a brand’s ads next to relevant scenes in a linear TV show. The broadcaster is seeking advertising partners to test its commercial innovation live on linear TV later this year.

The broadcaster’s ‘Contextual Moments’ ad tech automatically identifies unique scenarios within a programme that present valuable contextual opportunities for advertisers, tapping into both audio and visual data. For example, a character in a show might be seen enjoying a cup of tea and this scene may appeal to a tea brand whose ad would then be placed in the following break. Advertisers will be able to buy bundles of these nuanced contextual moments that are relevant to their brand under categories such as food, hot drinks, relationships or mobile phones.

The effectiveness of contextual ads is backed by research from Channel 4 and BDRC Continental that shows viewers are twice as likely to remember an advert when it’s viewed contextually, compared to one placed in a regular TV spot. Results reveal improved brand performance metrics, including a 34 per cent uplift in spontaneous awareness; a 12 per cent uplift in positive brand perception; and a 13 per cent uplift in purchase intent (+13 per cent).

To achieve context, a food brand might currently place their campaign around cooking shows, but using Contextual Moments, its ads can be inserted into breaks around multiple food specific ‘moments’ found in the editorial of other shows.

“Our pioneering ad tech provides an exciting opportunity for advertisers to test a global first in linear TV ad targeting which we know delivers strong results,” said Channel chief commercial officer, Jonathan Allan. “Our Contextual Moments trial offers advertisers the ability to buy bundles of relevant advertising within a quality and safe broadcast environment for the first time ever.”

Effectiveness results from the live trial will be presented to industry later this year.