XBox NUads Pulls TV Into Digital Media Mix

Microsoft released numbers Monday revealing that its NUads Xbox platform attracts 37% engagement rate. The company initially rolled out the Kinect-powered platform on the Xbox LIVE service in fall 2012 in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Digital campaigns running on Xbox appear to pull TV back into the media mix.

Sean Alexander, senior director of ad monetization for Xbox at Microsoft, which manages engineering and product development teams, said the technology combines Kinect technology with standard TV spots to provide an interactive experience. The platform provides questions that the viewer answers using the voice-activated services through Kinect.

About 70 million Xbox entertainment systems in 41 countries link into the platform. About 20 million of the 40 million subscribers to the Xbox LIVE service connect through a Kinect voice controller. "Voice is the killer app" to increase click-through and interactive rates, Alexander said. "Rather than reaching around in the couch cushions for a remote, you can use your voice."

About 71% of Xbox users voted in the polls, and in aggregate 97% of those participating waited to see their vote in the final tally based on consumer responses. Subway and Toyota participating in the initial NUads rollout agreed to share results.

Consumers don't need a Kinect sensor to interact with the ads. The remote control allows viewers to respond, but Alexander said voice enables consumers to provide an immediate response. There are several features in the works, but polling provides feedback for future product development and campaigns, similar to a focus group. Toyota, for example, invited the audience to redesign the Camry.

Cracking the code for interactive TV will lead Microsoft to experiment with the model on other media across the Web. While the Microsoft Xbox team remains focused on TV, the invitation to engage in video ad units through voice will come in time, Alexander said.

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