Channel 4 gives Twitter fans control of its ad break for the first time

Viewers will be able to use Twitter to control what they see during an entire ad break on Channel 4 for the first time.

The broadcaster billed the stunt as a “world first” that will let fans switch between three performances of British electro-pop band Years & Years. It happens tomorrow (10 July) evening at 9.45pm when viewers can use the #ChooseDark #ChooseLight or #ChooseShadow hashtags that correspond to the style of each music video. The idea of the shades theme harks back to the band’s reputation for extravagant lighting displays.

Tweets are tallied every 30 seconds as the most popular video is played in full screen while the other two are displayed as insets. Additionally, a selection of participants’ Twitter handles will be shown during the ad break.

Polydor Records is using the user-generated ad break to trumpet the band’s eagerly anticipated album Communion. The stunt, which has been crafted in partnership with Channel 4 Sales, MediaCom and The Outfit, comes off the back of the trio’s performance at Glastonbury last month.

The performances will also be simulcast on the band’s website as well as on Twitter and Facebook. It will also be available online once the broadcast has finished.

It is the latest innovative spin on the traditional ad break format from Channel 4. The broadcaster recently ran an ad that was actually a live performance of Sam Smith, while another saw Ed Sheeran ask fans to pick which track from his latest album he should perform during a break on E4.