Channel 4 in 'multimillion' pound data and CRM investment

Channel 4 is to invest millions of pounds in building a database that will help the broadcaster to understand and develop viewer relationships and harness insights for advertisers.

Channel 4: steps up data investment
Channel 4: steps up data investment

The outlay, which the broadcaster described as "multimillion pound", has been approved by the board and will help chief executive David Abraham deliver on the promise he made in May to focus more on data.

The focus on developing a conversation with and soliciting data from viewers has also led to the appointment of Steve Forde, previously Channel 4's head of digital marketing, in the new CRM-based role of head of viewer relationship management.

The key new role of head of data planning and analytics, which means overseeing the database infrastructure investment and shaping policies for data capture, storage and use, has been given to Sanjeevan Bala.

Bala has previously worked at data analytics marketing specialist Dunnhumby and joins from ClearCell.

All the new appointments form part of the team led by Gill Whitehead, director of audience, technologies and insight.

Sue Gray, previously head of corporate and commercial research, has been promoted to the role of head of advertising research and development.

Whitehead said: "The head of advertising research and development will ensure that advances in data analytics and audience engagement metrics are utilised to help evolve our advertising model."

Claire Grimmond, the controller of research and insight who Gray previously reported to, stepped down from her role last week but will remain with C4 until the end of the year. The broadcaster is recruiting for her replacement.

Channel 4's heightened attention on data comes as viewing increasingly shifts to digital platforms where feedback on habits can easily be gathered.

In May, Abraham said: "We are working on major innovations that can give us additional and complementary data about our audiences, which will further strengthen our long-term position in the ad market."