Channel 4 only began its viewer engagement strategy in 2012 and started to leverage the database for new targeted advertising to video-on-demand last year.
The huge volume of registered users, almost a fifth of UK’s adult population, is credited with helping to drive growth in Channel 4’s digital revenues – with the corporation’s commercial revenue now being directly or indirectly supported by first-party data from individual users.
Commercially, Channel 4 has benefited from the volume of valuable first-party viewer data, which has facilitated new advertising innovations introduced to the market this year for the first time.
The results of a commercial data-targeting trial in partnership with comScore and MTM London found that using demographically targeted ad packages significantly increased the efficiency and effectiveness of advertising for Channel 4’s clients and partners.
The next phase of the strategy will see the data on viewer behaviour helping to inform the creative teams in commissioning and marketing.
The initiative is being led by Gill Whitehead, director of audience, technology and insight at Channel 4, and a new data analytics and CRM team.
According to the broadcaster, the analytics team have been able to process high levels of data at low cost – loading and analysing billions of viewer interactions in much shorter times than would be possible on traditional closed source technology.
Commercially, Channel 4 reports the "volume of valuable first-party viewer data", has fuelled advertising innovations.
David Abraham, chief executive of Channel 4, said: "The speed at which we have grown our database of registered users in the three years since launch has been overwhelming and to reach 10 million registrations is testament to just how engaged our viewers are and how much they trust the Channel 4 brand.
"We’ve been able to use the scale of the database to have a new and more direct relationship with our viewers and to offer our advertisers new and innovative ways of better targeting the audiences they want to reach.
"In the next phase of our strategy, we want to further unlock the behavioural insight the data gives us to help add greater insight to our creative processes."
Behaviourally targeted ads and promotional trails are being used on 4oD, with a growing proportion of registered viewers linking with Facebook, Twitter or Google+ accounts to share and receive news about their favourite shows.