Channel 4 ramps up Audience, Technologies and Insight strategy


Gill Whitehead, Director of Audience Technologies and Insights, Channel 4

Channel 4 prioritises Viewer Engagement Strategy as Board green lights multi-million pound database investment

New appointments, ‘Head of Viewer Relationship Management' and ‘Head of Data Planning and Analytics', underline key priorities of new Audience, Technologies and Insight division

Channel 4's Director of Audience, Technologies and Insight, Gill Whitehead, has today revealed the future structure of her senior management team; announcing a number of high level appointments to lead on the key strategic priorities of her department.

Commenting on the announcements Gill Whitehead, Director of Audience Technologies and Insights, said:

"With further investment now green lit, Channel 4's work on delivering our ambitions around viewer engagement can move to the next level.

As Channel 4 understands more of our audience and their behaviours and preferences, we will move to harness this insight to deliver superior innovation both to advertisers and to viewers. Building the required infrastructure to deliver these ambitions now begins in earnest with a multi-million pound investment in a bespoke Channel 4 viewer database and new senior roles in the Audience Technologies and Insight team.

Specialists in viewer relationship management and data planning and analytics will bring new skills to the organisation, putting us ahead of the competition in developing our relationship with viewers. And in a further key appointment the Head of Advertising Research & Development will ensure that advances in data analytics and audience engagement metrics are utilised to help evolve our advertising model."

Sanjeevan Bala is appointed to the new role of Head of Data Planning & Analytics. Bala joins Channel 4 from ClearCell and previously Dunnhumby, having spent over ten years developing customer centric solutions for companies such as Tesco, eBay and BSkyB.

He will be responsible for bringing together all existing and future data sets and for shaping Channel 4's policies and practices for data capture storage and use across the organisation. Bala will oversee a multi-million pound investment in database infrastructure.

An experienced digital marketing specialist with a background in CRM and data marketing, Steve Forde is appointed to the role of Head of Viewer Relationship Management. He will initiate a strategy of building deeper relationships with viewers to drive loyalty around all of Channel 4's programming, content and initiatives. The primary aim being to deepen engagement and then develop an on-going, two-way, conversation with viewers. Forde was previously Channel 4's Head of Digital Marketing, working on the brand positioning and marcomms strategy for 4oD, as well as digital programme marketing innovations.

Sue Gray is promoted to the role of Head of Advertising Research & Development where she will support both the Channel 4 Sales Director and Director of Audience Technologies and Insight by devising and leading research programmes to ensure Channel 4 is at the forefront of longer term ad sales innovation.

Following the departure of Claire Grimmond the department will be recruiting a Head of Audience Research & Insight. This role will lead all Channel 4's audience and content research activities to provide continuous feedback and insight supporting scheduling, commissioning and marketing.

Notes to Editors:

The Audience, Technologies and Insight (ATI) Team brings together the audience facing touch points of Channel 4, with a strong focus on innovation and technology.

To ensure Channel 4 survives and thrives in the world of connected viewing, the ATI department have the strategic objectives of - ensuring Channel 4 has a deeper relationship with its audience; enhancing understanding of viewers, their behaviours and preferences: and in turn, helping the channel gain commercial advantage by using these relationships, data and insights, to deliver superior innovation both to advertisers and to viewers in the form of more tailored experiences.