Channel 4 unveils new 4oD short-form content brand to meet rise in mobile TV viewing

Channel 4 has unveiled a new short-form content brand called 4Shorts for 4oD to meet the increasing demand for mobile-optimised content.

The launch, revealed at its 2014 Upfront event in London today, will see a range of “creative” and “experimental” short-form commissions brought exclusively to 4oD.

This includes a format called Extracts, which features some of the most tweeted about moments from the broadcaster’s shows based on Twitter data.

A show called Extras will also feature on the new video-on-demand (VOD) channel, comprising bonus content of some of Channel 4’s most popular shows including Made In Chelsea and Educating Yorkshire (pictured).

Meanwhile another short-form show, called Originals, will feature newly commissioned content created to “resonate with a digital audience”, and will include ad-funded content for 4oD – a first for the broadcaster.

Speaking at the Transforming TV event as part of Channel 4 Upfront, Jonathan Lewis, head of digital and partnership innovation, said the new channel will give advertisers more “cutting edge” opportunities to take risks and engage with its young, connected audience wherever they are.

“4Shorts breaks down some of the traditional conventions of television, removing entry barriers including high production costs and scheduling limitations to offer brands an opening to create content for a premium TV platform."

Meanwhile the broadcaster also revealed the outcome of its first commercial data targeting trial at the event today. Seven brands – B&Q, Bulmers, Nokia, McDonalds, Microsoft, O2 and Unilever – worked with it on the trial, which sought to test how well their VOD advertising compared to their TV buys when using the same demographic targeting.

It worked with ComScore and research and strategy consultancy MTM London on the trial, which showed click-through rates doubled compared to a regular 4oD campaign, while brand awareness rose 11 per cent, according to the broadcaster.

Demographically targeted advertising on 4oD was found to create better cut through, showing a 39 per cent hike in ad awareness and a 67 per cent rise in ad recognition, according to the results.

Gill Whitehead, director of audience technology and insight at Channel 4, said: “Harnessing the growth of our nine million-strong registered viewer database, we’re continually improving the effectiveness of advertising on 4oD for our agency and client partners.

"Following these impressive results from our first commercial data initiative, our next steps are to look at interest-based and behavioural targeting which will enable advertisers to target categories such as food, health and technology.”

Also at the event the broadcaster revealed the results of an econometric study run by marketing effectiveness specialist Ohal, which revealed Channel 4 provided a better ROI than its saleshouse counterparts including ITV and Channel 5.

It claimed a “significant” uplift on sales compared to rival saleshouses particularly across healthcare clients where is outperformed the TV marketplace in terms of ROI by 15.1 per cent; online retail clients by 12.7 per cent and finance clients by 11.1 per cent.

Opening the 2014 Upfront event, Channel 4 sales director Jonathan Allan, said: “In 2014, Channel 4 Sales will remain the most effective place to invest your TV budgets and we are aiming to accelerate our innovation and levels of creativity for our commercial partners, to further cement our place as a real marketing partner.

“Building on our proven effectiveness for ROI, we are focused on reshaping the future of telly by transforming our creative output for a mobile TV generation, evolving our relationship with our audience through the second screen and driving viewer engagement with our content and advertiser brands through our growing database of registered viewers.”

Channel 4's TV catch-up player 4oD has more than ten million monthly users and up to 40 million monthly, viewed streams.

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