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Changing nature of TV advertising in an interactive environment stressed at forum

MUMBAI: While in India interactivity in television is restricted to SMS, in the US it is a complex phenomenon for advertisers to deal with. Now you have a plethora of devices like the digital video recorder from Tivo which allows consumers to skip ads.

This will give rise to new business models in the American television advertising sphere. Some of the models that could work going forward were discussed at a seminar organised by 212NYC an interactive advertising organisation based in New York.

 

MSN's Todd Herman was quoted in a report saying that one alternative for the ad community to guard against the ad skipping menace was to go online. For example MSN recently signed a deal with Fox Sports for content streaming. When a game is on users cannot skip a commercial. In the future MSN could give users the option of choosing the ads they wanted to see. What this alliance has done is to expand the online options for sports marketers. The site has personalisation options, interactive features and coverage of the biggest sporting events in the US. MSN claims to be attracting more than 350 million unique users worldwide per month.

Meanwhile OpenTV sales VP John Gee which deals with interactive television applications felt that television could still be an effective medium in the shifting landscape. He pointed out that advertisers have opportunities to embed interactive features in TV programming. For instance the company's SpotOn product allows television ads to target certain set-top boxes.

Tivo's Neil Strow noted that ad-skipping was prevalent. Tivo homes see users skip up to 80 per cent of commercials. The silver lining is that users also choose to watch long-form commercials placed by advertisers on the TiVo device. Some companies that have signed on with Tivo include beverage major Coca Cola.

For the uninitiated TiVo's technology records TV programmes without the hassles of videotape. It lets users pause live TV, do instant replays and begin watching programmes even before the recording has finished. In the wake of its success other companies putting together a set-top box started doing the same thing. That of course is another story.

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