Channel 4 has revealed it is investing in the European Broadcaster Exchange (EBX), a pan-European trading platform for digital video advertising set up by ProSiebenSat.1, TF1 and Media set earlier this year. Channel 4 announced at its upfronts in London that it will be the exclusive UK partner in the joint venture, with the four partners set to each take a 25 percent stake in the business, subject to European competition authorities approving Channel 4’s participation.
London-based EBX is one of a number of broadcaster alliances which have sprung up recently which aim to address some of the competitive disadvantages TV advertising faces compared to digital. EBX will pool the video-on-demand (VOD) inventory of its participants, allowing advertisers to run Europe-wide TV campaigns with programmatic purchasing. Initially the inventory will be limited to the founding broadcasters, but they have made it clear they will welcome more European partners to take part in the future. The founding broadcasters believe this reach – they claim advertisers will be able to reach up to 160 million people on their platform at launch – will allow them to tap into previously inaccessible ad-budgets for region-wide campaigns, helping TV to compete with digital more effectively.
Upon it’s launch, the broadcasters behind EBX were keen to paint it as a brand safe and transparent environment, playing to advertisers’ concerns about digital, and Channel 4’s head of digital partnership & innovation Jonathan Lewis followed suit. “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” he said. “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 London-based CEO and dedicated sales team will work to build the automated trading platform, with the aim that EBX will begin trading early next year.
This announcement was followed up this morning with the news that Channel 4 will offer 100 percent targeted advertising on its on-demand service All 4 in 2018, including all platforms that All 4 is available on, from mobile and tablet to compatible smart TVs. All 4, which claims to have a viewer base of 16 million, will make registration mandatory from next year, giving Channel 4 access to targeting data on its entire audience. “From next year every All 4 advertising opportunity will be personalised or targeted which has proven success for brands reflected in our double-digit year-on-year revenue growth for the last several years” said Lewis. It is this All 4 inventory which will be available over EBX, though it is not yet clear how the platform will manage sales of a mix of targetable and not targetable inventory.