Channel 4 unveils results from trial of new streaming ad formats

Monday, December 11th, 2023 
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Channel 4 enhances advertisers’ impact through landmark streaming ad innovations

Channel 4 is cementing its leadership in commercial and advertising innovation around streaming, unveiling the results of a UK-first public trial with 15 brands on new streaming ad formats which deliver an 81% boost in long-term brand recall.

The trial, with registered Channel 4 streaming users, explored whether different ad formats such as solus takeovers and reduced ad loads can optimise effectiveness. Following the success of the trial Channel 4 today also confirms its intention to offer the ad formats to the market next year.

Earlier this year, Channel 4 commenced a closed, ‘lab’ test exploring four new-to-market high impact streaming advertising formats, including multiple ad loads around programming. Today’s findings mark the second and latest wave of the project – which has seen 40 brands take part to date including Boots, EE and Just Eat – to optimise three new formats in Channel 4’s advertising environment across streaming for our advertisers and audiences.

The trial marks another step forward for Channel 4’s digital-first strategy, Future4, and follows the move this year to bring all Channel 4 services under a single brand across streaming and linear channels. Channel 4 recorded its biggest-ever month of streaming in October – including records for a single day’s views – driven by Married at First Sight UK and The Great British Bake Off. The industry data released by Barb showed the channel registered 6.7 billion viewer minutes in October – the largest since official data was first recorded in November 2021.

Thousands of viewers were surveyed in a live trial of the new streaming ad formats, with the following results.

  • ‘Solus‘ (advertiser is the only ad in the pre-roll, plus the first ad in mid-programme ad breaks): returns a 73% increase in brand recall immediately after exposure, compared with exposure to a regular ad break, and an 81% increase in brand recall several days after exposure.
  • ‘Lite’ (advertiser will run in breaks that are limited to 60 seconds): it boosts brand recall by 44% and a 23% increase in brand affinity, compared with exposure to a regular ad break.

Further underlining viewer support for Channel 4’s streaming innovation, nine in ten Channel 4 viewers said that short breaks are memorable and effective, with 55% less likely to avoid the new ad formats , and, 54% noting they pay more attention to the new takeover ad breaks.

The results of the public trial follow the closed, ‘lab’ trial earlier this year with selected users. Brands that took part in the experiment reported a 72% increase in ad recall, rising to 98% for 16- to 34-year-olds.

Of note, some of the key findings from the closed, ‘lab’ trial earlier this year pointed to the effectiveness of Channel 4’s current streaming ad formats: its highest ad loads were found to be ten times more effective versus the unexposed audience. In addition, streaming viewers are very receptive towards ads on the platform, with 36% feeling they improved the experience which rose to 46% for young viewers.

Channel 4’s Head of Commercial Innovation and Partners, Jonathan Lewis, said: “These results underline why Channel 4 is the best partner to do business with – we are continually innovating to give our partners the best ways of reaching viewers. Our streaming ad innovation further sets us apart in the industry as we generate the commercial returns from our work to prioritise digital growth and become the UK’s public service streamer.

“Our new ‘Lite’ breaks are great ‘all-rounders’: they enhance ads on all measures: recall, impact on KPIs, and, improve the viewer experience. Meanwhile ‘Solus’ Spots are great for stand out: they significantly increase recall of a spot.”

Links: Channel 4