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C4 invests in European Broadcaster Exchange as exclusive UK partner

  • Digital multi-territory ad sales joint venture with ProSiebenSat.1, TF1, Mediaset Italy and Spain
  • JV addresses ad industry demands for brand-safe, pan-European video campaigns at scale – unlocking new broadcaster digital revenues

Channel 4 today announced at its Upfronts event in London that it is investing in the new digital ad sales partnership established by ProSiebenSat.1 (Germany), TF1 (France) and Mediaset (Italy and Spain) with each broadcaster taking an equal 25% stake in the new business.

European Broadcaster Exchange (EBX) is a newly created digital ad sales venture to be headquartered in London as the leading hub for planning pan-European campaigns. Expected to launch trading early 2018, the joint venture will establish a quality broadcaster European video-on-demand exchange to cater for the growing demand for multi-territory video campaigns at scale, initially traded programmatically. EBX will additionally kick start a deeper, strategic collaboration between the broadcasters to drive forward technological development in online advertising.

The exchange allows Channel 4 to enter the pan-European digital ad sales market for the first time and enables all partner broadcasters to compete more efficiently with global competitors. Media agencies and advertisers across Europe will be able to buy multi-territory video campaigns which benefit from the venture’s innovation in ad technology, research and premium content in the brand-safe advertising environments of each broadcaster.

Each of the partner broadcasters will be able to unlock new digital revenues currently unavailable to them from adjacent ad markets by making available additional inventory on their broadcaster on-demand platforms. EBX partners will also establish an open model with the ambition of involving other European media companies and making their advertising inventories available.

ProSiebenSat.1, TF1 and Mediaset involvement in the JV has already been approved by the European competition authorities and cleared by antitrust. Channel 4 joining will be subject to similar European competition and antitrust approvals.

Jonathan Lewis, Head of Digital & Partnership Innovation at Channel 4 said: “The demand for multi-territory digital ad campaigns in brand safe and transparent environments is increasing as the programmatic video ad market continues to grow exponentially across Europe. Our investment allows Channel 4 to cater for this demand exclusively in the UK market and forge closer strategic and commercially successful partnerships with key broadcasters in European markets which will in turn generate new digital revenues for Channel 4 to reinvest back into the UK creative sector.”

A CEO and dedicated sales team based in London will drive the build of the automated trading platform, with the aim of the company being fully operational early in 2018.

The programmatic video advertising market is currently growing at an annual rate of 45% in Western Europe.

In 2016 Channel 4 recorded a significant growth in digital revenues which broke over £100m for the first time (£102m up + 24% on 2015) and comprised more than 10% of its total almost £1bn revenues. This was driven by commercial innovation such as programmatic trading, data-led ad products and growth in All 4 views of +21% to 620m. Channel 4 has over 16 million registered viewers to its on-demand platform All 4, including over half of all 16-34s in the UK.

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