Channel 5

Role     UX Lead

Client     Channel 5

Agency     Ostmodern



We were tasked with investigating a new concept and approach for a digital ecosystem and strategy for Channel 5's over the top (OTT) service in which users can consume content via the internet rather than traditional digital TV services. The challenge was to create a strategy that would allow Channel 5 to naturally flex and grow its programme, platform and brand offering to attract a wider audience base.

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A review of the top video on demand and catch up services  identified common strengths and weaknesses. This provided a good understanding of not only features but how each product was architecturally structured, navigating their users around their products. It also provided insight into some of the ways content was structured and presented. This raised interesting questions such as how was content personalised to each user? How was new content introduced and when? How was catch up content structured?

// Top video on demand and catch up TV services analysed. The different coloured sticky notes represent different meanings. Blue: Good, Pink: Bad, Orange: Comment //


Without being able to carry out one to one interviews with users or focus groups, we first started with desk research and referring back to previously carried out user group studies around current evolving VOD audiences. We created a set of personas to support us in the understanding of who the product is meant for.

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// The 4 user types that were identified through research. //

Customer brand boards

To help create the personality and tastes of a potential user customer brand boards were created. These provide a broad and quick look at interests and tastes, helping inform us later when defining customer needs / goals.

// User mood boards help paint a picture of the type of interests, activities and behaviours of the user. //

Triggers, barriers and goals

Using viewing data from video on demand providers and user group studies identities were drawn together of key characteristics, levels of engagement and details about usage context rather than specific likes and dislikes.

// Persona concepts drawn together as research on VOD users is carried out //

We allocated key goals, triggers and barriers to each persona, including our objectives for them, which pinpointed the behaviours our design needs to account for.

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// Example of a detailed persona. These were pivotal in identifying user needs and user journeys. //


After analysing the competitive landscape, spending time defining the audience through personas and identifying product opportunities, we were in a position to define the experience principles for the product.

1. Channel 5 TV in one place
2. Give content the home it deserves
3. Integrated commercial experience
4. Self aware content

// Experience principles developed and defined on a whiteboard //

Channel 5 TV all in one place

The viewing experience of 'Live' and 'On Demand' are no longer seen as separate, but as one entity. Instead of separating assets across disparate silos, a coherent destination that represents the home of a programme, preventing duplication and bloating across the product.

Giving content the home is deserves

Programmes have different audiences, and is unique in its own right and should be giving a correspondingly unique experience. A modular system was designed to enable destinations to be constructed from a set of manageable slices, with minimal editorial effort.

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// module formations that illustrate how the design will take into account and accommodate the difference each programme has between one another. //

As a programme becomes more popular with audiences it needs the ability to scale up its presence, and vice versa, it can be scaled back.

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// Example of how the modular design can adapt for a programme as it starts with small amounts of content, then grows over time. //


It was clear that viewers have become very good at subconsciously ignoring the typical ad placements and MPU's. We explored an advertising framework that integrated seamlessly into the user experience with the Channel 5 product.
Instead of dominating the page with adverts that took away from the programme's presence, we worked in sponsorship for a programme. This not only added value to the advertising space, but made the viewing experience more pleasant.

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// How advertisements can add value to the user and the content they enjoy. //

To enhance the value even further and encourage users to watch through ads, even once a programme has finished, we looked into incentivising viewers with additional exclusive content after the ad.

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// Interaction example of how a user would be notified that additional content is available after an advert. //


Each user develops a relationship with a programme over time and no two relationships are the same. We explored the idea of how a VOD service could begin to get to know a viewer across the Channel 5 On Demand ecosystem.

Over time the service would follow the viewers tastes in content as they develop, remembering their likes & dislikes, where they are within a programming schedule of particular shows. With all this information and data built up on a user, the Channel 5 VOD service understands the relationship a user has with Channel 5 and its content and always ensures the user would be shown the right content at the right time.


// Diagram to illustrate the number of additional short form content for each episode would be provided to a user. //

Using this technique not only helps ensure a user keeps loyal to their favourite programmes, but naturally introduces new content they might like at the right times further developing that loyalty and trust to the Channel 5 brand.


A typical electronic programme guide (EPG) shows everything that is now and a 168 hours ahead of time. At the time of exploring this strategy Channel 5 has six channels. That is approximately a total of 1020 hours of information.

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// Example of how a traditional EPG makes finding content specific to a user difficult to find. //

Applying the logic of the 'self aware content' logic, we can use this to provide users with more targeted and valuable information. This allows users to quickly find and action programmes they are currently watching or potentially be interested in.

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// The final design of a the EPG with the self aware logic applied. Cutting back 100’s of hours of content to a short but valuable list for the user. //

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