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Using audience data to provide a tailored content and ad experience across multiple devices is something all broadcasters should be thinking about. 

But it’ll take more than additional, exclusive content to seduce viewers to part with their personal details, although it won’t hurt. The secret ingredient is transparency, without which many consumers won’t play ball.

Last week at the International Broadcasting Conference (IBC) in Amsterdam, Channel 4 director of audience technologies and insight Gill Whitehead revealed her plan to allow 4oD viewers to edit and even delete their own data in the future (nma.co.uk 9 September 2011).

This is a smart move, and if it succeeds, will be fundamental to maintaining trust with its viewers. But it won’t be easy. Any broadcaster looking to gain more insight into its audience by accruing more of their personal data, with the intention of then feeding that back to advertisers, must ensure its viewers are fully aware of what they are agreeing to before they part with their details.

The internet has bred a consumer thirst for immediacy of content. The result is that some people click quickly and blindly through the rules and regulations of certain sites without really caring what they are allowing or “opting in” for in the process.

Channel 4, and any other broadcaster looking to go down this route must ensure they pull out all the stops to educate their viewers over what their details are being used for, and how they can monitor what is held on them.

It’s pursuing this in other ways too, having launched a suite of interactive video ad formats designed to help forge a closer relationship with its viewers and advertisers (nma.co.uk 15 September 2011).

The IBC also saw Facebook VP and MD of EMEA Joanna Shields issue a charm offensive to the TV broadcast industry, echoing a similar plea made by Google several weeks earlier (nma.co.uk 9 September 2011). Although both Google and Facebook face a difficult task in enticing the TV industry to partner with them over content, they are both masters at data harvesting, something broadcasters have not been so hot at.

Channel 4, being the first broadcaster to so openly embrace the use of data to inform its digital strategy, must set the example to those that follow in its footsteps, and ensure consumer trust isn’t damaged in the process.

Below are video interviews at IBC with Blinkbox CEO Michael Comish and social TV start-up Zeebox co-founder Anthony Rose.


IBC interviews


Published 15 September, 2011 by NMA Staff

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