LONDON: Channel 4 has found Facebook to be a successful distribution platform in terms of the numbers viewing its news content, but this in itself is not enough for a public service broadcaster.

The final quarter of 2017 produced two billion views totalling 200 million minutes, but the channel needed to show that “that they were more than just Facebook wallpaper,” Lucy O’Neill, Research Manager at Channel 4, told the recent MRS Impact conference.

She needed to demonstrate, she explained, that “they were informing and educating the viewers and therefore delivering our remit.” (For more read, WARC’s report: How Channel 4 used offline research to measure social impact.)

A survey approach took the Facebook experience offline into a controlled environment, with participants picking one of a number of feeds created and curated by the researchers and then being exposed to a range of video content including Channel 4 News videos (a control group saw no Channel 4 content).

“We found that even a short exposure can impact the viewer and two thirds rated the videos great or good, with users telling us they found them informative, insightful, and detailed,” O’Neill reported.

As many as 77% of the test sample felt more informed, with 62% wanting to find out more. In addition, 61% reported seeing the issue in a new light.

Not only did Channel 4 appear to be meeting its remit, the brand effects were also encouraging.

Where users were exposed to C4 videos, they were more likely to say Channel 4 was for them, which led to an increased likelihood of following the channel (a 13% uplift compared to the 8% control).

Against these encouraging findings, however, the research also revealed that dwell times were short and that the average view only got through 8% of the video – little more than the headline.

Despite these limitations, Channel 4 has observed promising metrics among difficult-to-reach 16-24 year olds and is launching two new social channels focused on identity and democracy respectively to better inform this audience.

Sourced from WARC