Channel 4 in European TV ad alliance to take on Google and Facebook

Deal will allow advertisers to run campaigns on video-on-demand that could potentially reach up to 160 million viewers

Channel 4 has joined an alliance of Europe’s biggest broadcasters to run commercials across their video-on-demand (VOD) services, in a move to combat Google and Facebook’s dominance of online advertising.

Channel 4, which offers shows including Great British Bake Off, Gogglebox, Humans and Hunted via All4, will be the exclusive UK partner in the alliance, the European Broadcaster Exchange (EBX).

Advertisers will be able to book pan-European campaigns across Channel 4’s All4 and equivalent online TV services operated by Germany’s ProSiebenSat1, France’s TF1 and Mediaset, which has operations in Italy and Spain. The broadcasters claim their VOD services reach more than 160 million viewers a month.

Channel 4, which has reported more than 20% annual growth in its video service to more than 60 million monthly viewers, has taken a 25% stake in the joint venture for an undisclosed sum.

Broadcasters have started to make increasing amounts of money from catch-up TV services, with Channel 4’s digital revenues climbing 24% last year to £102m.

However, there are fears that the sheer scale of Google’s YouTube and Facebook’s online video could limit the commercial growth of broadcasters’ VOD services. They also fear that marketers’ spend on TV advertising could be lost to online video.

The Silicon Valley giants already snap up as much as 90% of every new £1 of online advertising money spent in the UK.

Broadcasters are are attempting to attract more digital marketing money by focusing on the issues facing Google and Facebook, including ads running next to inappropriate content such as extremist sites and fake news.

“The demand for multi-territory digital ad campaigns in brand safe and transparent environments is increasing,” said Jonathan Lewis, head of digital and partnership innovation at Channel 4. “The video ad market continues to grow exponentially across Europe.”

EBX will launch next year with its headquarters based in London.

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Mark Sweney

The GuardianTramp

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