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Channel 4 & Programmatic TV: Will it Work?

by Hannah Thompson | 08.04.2015

With 2015 being hailed the “year of video”, the rise in discussion of programmatic TV in recent months has been meteoric, with launches finally reaching the UK. Channel 4 announced recently that they were launching their own, programmatic-direct buy inventory on their Samsung TV app, YouView and Xbox services with the aim of expanding this over time.

Channel 4 are ideally placed to be testing this inventory, with programming predominantly targeted to the ABC1, young adult market – those who are most likely to be watching on demand services. The ability to programmatically buy Channel 4’s inventory based on the channel’s first party data will enable TV advertisers to target users in a way which is currently very difficult using linear TV advertising. Furthermore, it will give advertisers more value for money, and allow them to measure linear TV advertising against the same metrics provided in digital.

Unfortunately, Channel 4’s programmatic TV inventory is currently limited to advertisers of Dentsu Aegis (e.g. Adidas, British Airways and BMW) with limited data buying capacities. They haven’t ruled out opening the inventory up to an auction-based buying method but accept that this requires a lot of complex manoeuvring with their technology. In addition, the data that is available is only from registered All4 (4od’s rebranded name) registered users.

Channel 4 are the first major TV channel in Europe to test this type of buying for their TV inventory. The test is in its infant stage, but could mean big things for the integration of TV to the digital media buying landscape if proven a success.