C4 announces global first in Artificial Intelligence TV advertising

Category: News Release

Channel 4 today revealed the world’s first AI driven TV advertising technology that enables the broadcaster to place a brand’s ads next to relevant scenes in a linear TV show.

At its first ever 2018 summer Upfronts event, Channel 4 announced it is seeking advertising partners to test its exclusively owned, tech-driven commercial innovation live on linear TV later this year.

The broadcaster’s ground-breaking ‘Contextual Moments’ ad tech automatically identifies unique scenarios within a programme that present valuable contextual opportunities for advertisers. For example, a character in a show might be seen enjoying a cup of tea and this scene may appeal to a tea brand whose ad would then be placed in the following break.

For the first time advertisers will be able to buy bundles of these nuanced contextual moments that are relevant to their brand under categories such as food, hot drinks, relationships or mobile phones.

The effectiveness of contextual ads is backed by award-winning research from Channel 4 and BDRC Continental that shows viewers are twice as likely to remember an advert when it’s viewed contextually, compared to one placed in a regular TV spot.

Results reveal improved brand performance metrics including uplifts in spontaneous awareness (+34%) as well as positive brand perception (+12%) and purchase intent (+13%).

To achieve context a food brand might currently place their campaign around cooking shows, but using Channel 4’s new ad tech their ads can be inserted into breaks around multiple food specific ‘moments’ found in the editorial of other shows, such as a character in a drama baking a cake or a dinner party scene in a comedy.

This use of state-of-the-art AI from Channels 4’s Data Science team combines both audio and visual data to automatically identify prominent, positive moments within a show, discarding the negative and human validation will be applied for absolute brand safe assurance.

Jonathan Allan, Chief Commercial Officer, Channel 4 said: “Our pioneering ad tech provides an exciting opportunity for advertisers to test a global first in linear TV ad targeting which we know delivers strong results.

“Our ‘Contextual Moments’ trial offers advertisers the ability to buy bundles of relevant advertising within a quality and safe broadcast environment for the first time ever.”

Effectiveness results from the live trial will be presented to industry later this year.

Advertisers should contact Damon Lafford on dlafford@channel4.co.uk for more information about trialling Contextual Moments.



Notes to Editors:

About Contextual Moments’ effectiveness research

Channel 4 ran a lab test with independent research agency BDRC simulating a real viewing experience to understand the effectiveness of Contextual Moments.

Nine different brands’ adverts were placed throughout three different programmes and tested across six different test/control groups made up of over 1800 viewers.

Viewers were either shown the brand ads in a regular TV placement, shown the brand ads in a Contextual Moments placement or were not exposed to the brand ads at all.

All viewers were interviewed after watching one programme via an online survey that focused on traditional advertising effectiveness questions.

Results showed that those exposed to the ad contextually were twice (+101%) as likely to remember seeing the ad compared to those who saw ad in a regular placement. Working with Durham University’s neuroscience team Channel 4 hypothesise that this is due to ‘semantic priming’ – the idea that recently accepted content is easier to memorise

Other keys measures that improved when an ad was exposed contextually:

  • Spontaneous awareness (+34%)
  • Positive brand perceptions (+12%)
  • Purchase intent (+13%)
  • 72% of respondents preferred this new method of advertising