Personalised ads coming to on-demand service All 4

Channel 4’s online platform will offer ability to target registered users by their names

Watching on-demand? Don't be surprised if the advertisers seem to know your name. Channel 4's on-demand service All 4 will "imminently" roll out an ad personalisation product it tested last year with Burberry and Coca-Cola, according to Channel 4 group digital manager Michael McSharry.

In the personalised Burberry video-on-demand ads, perfume bottles were monogrammed with the initials of the registered All 4 user, while in the Coca-Cola ads, bottles bore the name of the user on the label – in an extension of its broader Share a Coke campaign. This personalisation facility will soon be extended to brands across the market, McSharry told the IAB Video Connect conference in Dublin.

The All 4 platform, which is free and was until recently known as 4oD, has 700,000 registered users in Ireland and 11.5 million registrations in total. It collects five pieces of information from users during the sign-up process – name, email, gender, age and location.

Channel 4 has also allowed some advertisers –– including Baileys, Procter & Gamble and – to use “ interests targeting”, meaning they can serve ads to users based on their viewing behaviour. This, too, will be extended.


Another “big thing” for the company is its experimentation with “programmatic” (or automated) trading of the All 4 ad inventory. This will allow media-buying agencies to access its viewer data and plan the delivery of ads to targeted audience segments.

The broadcaster last month rebranded the nine-year-old 4oD – which was the first catch-up player in the world – because “we felt we needed a new home”, says McSharry. “We had outgrown 4oD to some extent.”

All 4 will become an “increasingly personalised” platform over time, but it is different from 4oD in another key respect. It presents all of Channel 4’s linear channels (Channel 4, E4, More 4), its catch-up content and its digital exclusives in one place – reflecting the fact that younger viewers increasingly do not differentiate between live television and video-on-demand.

Linear channels, however, still remain “a guiding light through hundreds of potential viewing decisions”.

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery is an Irish Times journalist writing about media, advertising and other business topics