Digital broadcasting and one-to-one marketing: rising to similar challenges | DMA

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Digital broadcasting and one-to-one marketing: rising to similar challenges


As the chief executive of a pioneering British broadcaster I am a passionate supporter of original ideas and innovation. The job of running a broadcast network in today’s ever evolving digital world poses many challenges, one of them being: how to continually innovate in the creation of great content and on the growing range of platforms on which it is enjoyed by the viewer.

In many ways, this is also a challenge for the one-to-one marketing industry. The opportunities rapid technological advances have presented media owners and brand communicators alike over the past decade have afforded us all an incredible chance to transform how we engage now with consumers.

In 2006, Channel 4 was the first broadcaster in the world to offer long-form content on demand to viewers via the 4oD service. Today, 4oD generates over half a billion views a year. In 2015, this will be replaced by All 4 – the brand new digital home of all Channel 4 content which houses live TV channels, on-demand and previews in one single destination.

Channel 4’s viewer database has now attracted over 11 million registered users. This valuable first-party viewer data has enabled a two-way relationship with our audience, which has driven increased viewing and engagement with our brand, in part through better promotional targeting.

Viewers are incentivised to register with us in return for a range of benefits, such as exclusive content and tailored recommendations. We also use our data insight to enhance our unique not-for-profit commercial model; for example we can now offer advertisers targeted ad packages on 4oD.

Encouraging people to share their details in the first place can be a challenge, which is why we launched our Viewer Promise giving our viewers complete control over their data and transparency on how we use it. Our growing database is a testament to its success.

New platforms, new technologies and new channels have enabled even greater innovation in the content we produce. Content tailored to fit the medium is crucial to cater for different viewing habits that have quickly evolved for various devices.

This year we invested significantly in original short-form content made exclusively for 4oD and designed to be consumed on the move on mobiles and tablets. Following a successful launch this summer, these shorts are already generating millions of views.

Channel 4 has embraced data like no other broadcaster; 4oD - and soon All 4 – is where your industry and mine most evidently now overlap.

Our future, our fortunes are clearly entwined. This is why I accepted the kind offer to serve as this year’s chair of the DMA Awards panel of judges. My aim was to champion innovation and recognise the work that not only represents the very best of the one-to-one marketing industry but also that which illustrates how we are increasingly working together.

Based on the winning entries in the 2014 DMA Awards I am pleased to say that the one-to-one marketing industry is rising successfully to the challenge of how to innovate in producing great content and innovate in using a range of media to engage, entertain and inspire millions of consumers on an ever-more personalised basis.

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