LONDON, UK — British TV network Channel 4 is right in the middle of its Future4 strategy, which targets getting 30% of revenue from digital sources by 2025.

The company was an early mover toward programmatic TV ad sales via its BVOD platform. And it has got closer to the retail media economy. Next up, Channel 4 wants to launch into ecommerce and gain a bigger slice of the US market.

Speaking with me for Beet.TV, Jonathan Lewis, Head of Commercial Innovation & Partners, Channel 4, opened up on plans.

Partnering with Retail Brands

Channel 4’s Brandmatch ad product allows brands to bring their own data sets to create custom TV audience segments reached via C4’s BVOD platform, with privacy ensured by clean room.

“(It) involves partnering with retail brands like Tesco, Boots and Nectar, merging their data with Channel 4’s streaming data to comprehend the impact of advertising on consumers’ purchasing activities in these stores,” Lewis says, adding the approach is “working with great effects”.

The Tesco partnership is the newest, with the supermarket giant leveraging its 14.4 million-strong Clubcard loyalty scheme user base within Channel 4’s ad environment.

The Promise of E-commerce

Looking ahead, Channel 4 has set its sights on the burgeoning field of e-commerce.

“We are very early days in terms of what we’re doing in e-commerce, but we just feel that there’s definitely a shift that’s been going on within the market over the last 12 months,” Lewis says.

He notes it is thinking about how to develop specific e-commerce propositions within content as well as advertising.

The company already trialled shoppable links for cosmetics brands in digital-first YouTube content in mid-2023.

Enhancing the Advertising Experience

While all that may seem like more ads, on TV, the opposite may be true.

Taking cues from their US partners, NBCU, Channel 4 has experimented with reducing ad loads and implementing high-impact formats to increase brand efficacy and cut through.

“We took that experiment into the lab at the beginning of this year with about 30 advertisers, tried a number of new formats,” Lewis shares, emphasizing that they’ve “researched brilliantly” and will be taken to market in the coming months.

And the British company also recently debuted FAST TV channels on several of the main US FAST platforms – what Lewis describes as an “ongoing experiment” which will also examine FAST viability at home in the UK.

“It’s interesting how almost like the resurgence of the EPG is becoming a thing when there’s too much to watch when you’re going onto a streaming service and you’re inundated by choice,” Lewis muses, hinting at the potential of FAST TV to satisfy viewers’ need for a curated, easy-to-navigate viewing experience.

You’re watching “Looking Ahead: TV in Europe 2025,” a Beet.TV Leadership Summit, presented by Magnite & Publica. For more videos from this series, please visit this page.