Independent producers submit programming ideas to commissioning editors which are then discussed with the scheduling team to ensure we maintain a wide range of different types of genre and approach that reflect Channel 4's unique remit.
In Research and Insight, we've got a lot of tools for looking into who is using the Internet, what they're doing, how they're doing it and on what equipment. Without going into endless detail, these tools include Nielsen Net Ratings, Comscore, Forrester, Web Trends and TGI.net. All these sources provide different ways of finding out what people do online and we look to use the best tools to analyse the issues given to us.
Propeller is a panel that Channel 4 set up and asks questions every 2 weeks. The panel is nationally representative (16-54s) and the questions are asked online. This allows us to investigate issues really quickly by asking this independently run panel of people. Email us if you're interested.
The content team's focus is to look after the editorial side, supporting commissioning editors, scheduling, marketing and strategy. It is their role to provide insight in order that Channel 4 can continue be a forward looking, innovative and exciting content provider.
On the commercial side, we have two core focal points: to provide Sales with research on the effects of advertising with Channel 4, the second is to identify emerging social trends, find out what viewers think about media and ultimately how best to engage them.
BARB (Broadcasters' Audience Research Board) is the company that provides estimated TV viewing figures. BARB is a not-for-profit limited company owned by BBC, ITV, Channel 4, five, BSkyB and the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising. BARB allows you to look at which channels and programmes are being watched, at what times and the type of people who are watching at any one time. This doesn't mean that there is a Big Brother type camera in your house (although that would be very interesting) but there is a small black box called a Peoplemeter, on top of the TV in 50,000 homes in the UK. These peoplemetres record all viewing in these homes, and then feed it back to a main server where the data is then processed, factored up to be representative of the UK, sold to agencies who then cut it into a usable format, and then sold to the agencies and media owners. BARB only reports on private owned houses so no pubs or nursing homes.
An impact is one set of eyes seeing one ad once. We often look at impacts to see how well an ad campaign, channel, daypart or programme is doing, so the greater the number of impacts something gets, the more people watching it. An advert can be 10, 20, 30, 40 or 60 seconds long and thus all different costs. In order that we can look at how many impacts something is achieving, we need to be able to compare them, and in order to compare them, they have to be the same time length; a bit like having a common denominator. Weighted impacts are all made to be 30 seconds long. Unweighted impacts are any length. It is always better to look at weighted.
Overnights (also known as Live) are TV viewing figures from BARB which are processed and delivered ready for reading the next day. These figures do not contain time shifted viewing (stuff which is recorded and then watched within 7 days of the original programme). This is where consolidated data comes in - the time shift viewing is added to the live data to produce a final, minute by minute consolidated audience, available 8 days after the original programme. Programme specific data takes 2 weeks to be delivered.
Quantitative research is all about numbers, i.e. how many people there are in the UK, and whether or not people who watch Channel 4 the most are more likely to buy new underpants than, say, ITV1 viewers. It usually takes the form of surveys and questionnaires where actual usage is measured by a fieldwork team, who are commissioned by a research agency.
Qualitative research emphasises words rather than numbers - an iTouch ad is recalled better than an advert for the new Samsung MP4 Player (quantitative data), but how does iTouch work as an ad and why is it more memorable than Samsung? Much qual is trying to get under the skin of consumers and finding out how they think and feel about things. Qual is normally conducted in a focus group. These are usually small in number since there is no attempt to extrapolate to the total population. There is also the possibility of doing one on one depth interviews. Qual and quant are often complementary and in a research project, both may feature, but don't necessarily have to.
Reach is the average number of people who have watched something for at least 3 minutes - 3 minutes is the industry standard but you can change this if you want. Share is the number of people who watched something expressed as a % of everyone watching TV at that particular time.
Amongst many others, one of the prime uses of the Research and Insight team is to give detailed analysis of how well we (and our competitors) are performing. Whether it be from a programming or a commercial point of view, people come to us for the answers and, in return for sweets or cake, we provide them using various different systems, or bureaux including InfoSys, DDS, Telmar, KMR-SPC, Techedge, Comscore, Memphis, NMR and Sesame.