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Channel 4: TV sponsorships improve with longevity and connect with young audiences

THE UK’s CHANNEL 4 Sales has unveiled the results of its latest Sponsorship Rocks study, which it claims is “the most comprehensive analysis of broadcast sponsorship effectiveness ever conducted”. The study’s dataset, “twice the size of the previous iteration of Sponsorship Rocks in 2017, now incorporates streaming data, creative coding, plus Barb reach and frequency data – offering unparalleled insights for brands.”

Rupinder Downie, sponsorship and commercial partnerships leader, Channel 4 Sales, said: “This study highlights how well sponsorships allow brands to draw on broadcasters’ content, creativity and innovation. The debate around brand safety continues across all media platforms, so it is encouraging to see research which shows broadcast sponsorship provides a reliable, transparent and effective platform.”

Channel 4 commissioned research agency Consumer Insight to aggregate effectiveness results from almost 240 sponsorships, including 666 of waves of research that involved speaking to over 400,000 viewers. Key findings were: Sponsorship delivers impact across all key metrics. Compared to non-viewers of sponsorship, average percentage point uplifts are seen in awareness (+8%), consideration (+8%), brand perceptions (+7%), relevance (+5%) and trust (+6%). On average, over half of viewers will recall a sponsorship ident and almost a quarter will want to find out more about a brand having been exposed to a sponsorship.

Frequency is a key virtue. Idents that have been seen more than 60 times see a +57% boost in prompted brand awareness, versus a campaign with an average frequency of under 60. 

Sponsorship particularly stands out among elusive young audiences: among all audience groups, 16-34s returned the highest recognition.  

Content alignment is key. By aligning a brand’s creative to a sponsorship, metrics can be amplified, and key attributes of a programme, can transmit onto the brand.

Channel 4 gave some examples to back up its findings, such as Sensodyne’s partnership with Made In Chelsea. After seeing the sponsorship, 59% of respondents said they were more likely to consider Sensodyne, a +12pp uplift vs. norms (47%). Claimed purchase increased significantly with 21% of non-viewers saying they had bought Sensodyne in the past three months, compared with 33% of viewers.


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