FEATURE4 July 2012

Audience data on demand


Channel 4’s commercial research manager Joe Beek discusses the broadcaster’s new model for working out the additional reach delivered by on-demand ad campaigns.


In its 2011 annual review, Channel 4 reported £833.5m in revenue for its main TV stations while Future Media, which includes 4oD, brought in £52.8m.

To switch advertisers on to the benefits of 4oD as an ad platform, Channel 4’s research and insight team engaged RSMB to develop a model for working out the additional unduplicated audience reach advertisers can expect to get for ads that run on both TV and on-demand.

We caught up with Joe Beek, commercial research manager at Channel 4, to find out more.

Research: How did this project come about?
Joe Beek:
We do a lot of work to support the digital sales team at Channel 4 and one of the big questions they have been asking for some time now is how much reach 4oD can add on top of a traditional TV campaign. That’s something we set about trying to answer with this project.

We commissioned RSMB to do the work for us and they worked on it throughout the first quarter of this year. What they have been doing is building a model – mostly based on industry data and some data from our own analytics systems, etc – which predicts the reach and frequency that 4oD would add on top of a TV campaign.

Research: How does the model work?
What RSMB have delivered to us so far is an add-on for their reach and frequency system, Triple-S. You enter the number of video-on-demand (VOD) impressions and it produces a revised estimate for the total reach and frequency of a TV and 4oD campaign.

That’s what we have in-house but the next stage is to share these findings with media agencies and advertisers. The main mechanism for that will be our big industry presentation that we do every year, called ‘In VOD we trust’. The first couple of years we focused on ad effectiveness. The third year we used qual research to look at the diversity of the 4oD audience. This year it will all be about cross-platform reach and frequency and the benefits that 4oD can offer advertisers.

We’ll be running multiple scenarios from the RSMB model and turning that into an industry presentation.

Research: I’m assuming that modelling cross-platform reach and frequency isn’t as simple as just adding the VOD and TV numbers together.
Yes, the really tricky thing is being able to predict the overlap between those two platforms or you could find yourself counting the same people twice – those who saw the ad on TV and also on 4oD. We’ve known for some time now that 4oD does bring in some new people that won’t have seen the ads on TV. We know that just under 6% of 16- to 34-year-olds have broadband but don’t have television. We know that there are a certain number of people who can only be reached via digital platforms and what this model is trying to do is try to predict how many are repeat viewers and how many are new people.

Research: Do you have a ballpark figure yet for the average number of unique VOD viewers?
No, it’s a bit early for that. It varies based on the target audience and the size of the campaign, but we’ll have to wait until we have the presentation ready before we can talk about any of the numbers.

The hopeful extension of all this work is that we’ll be able to give media agencies access to the data themselves so it becomes a tool for them to use. What we’re trying to work out at the moment is how we can go about building that tool.

There are a lot of advertisers who don’t use 4oD yet, and a lot of traditional TV advertisers who are still unsure of the benefits of using 4oD in combination with TV. This tool should help us demonstrate the benefits.