Channel 4 is investing in the creation of a multimillion pound bespoke database of customer relationship management (CRM) data, in order to boost advertising revenues from online content including on Twitter and Facebook.

The broadcaster believes online content campaigns via social media and targeted emails, can generate the specific viewers that advertisers are demanding for their brand messages.

Gill Whitehead, director of audience technologies at the broadcaster, said that Channel 4's data strategy would create "deeper relationships with viewers", and in turn generate bigger audiences for its programming and change the sale of advertising around content.

Instead of charging viewers to view online content, Channel 4 wants them to register to view programmes and clips and sell their targeted participation to advertisers, according to an analysis from the Financial Times.

The broadcaster has not said what technology it is using for the database or if it has outsourced the work. But recent senior management appointments to its "audience technologies and insights division" include technology experts to drive the strategy. Sanjeevan Bala - formerly at Tesco, eBay and BSkyB - will be head of data planning and analytics; and Steve Forde, Channel 4's head of digital marketing, will become head of viewer relationship management.

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