The Portalization Of The 30-Second Commercial

Most articles I read about the television business, if not all, prognosticate about the demise of the 30-second commercial: viewers hate commercials; given the opportunity/technology, all viewers would fast-forward through commercials; people use going to the bathroom and seeking out food during commercial breaks as a desperate excuse to legitimize their avoidance of TV commercials; commercials are too long; and generally, as reported by industry pundits, the creative sucks. OK. I've been listening to this looping litany since I began in the industry in the mid-'70s.

So I think that with the evolution and deployment of digital technology. the TV commercial value proposition is going to evolve from a necessary evil -- the foundation of free TV, though that becomes more debatable in the on-demand realm -- and blossom into a gateway or portal to engage TV viewers. In the future, and even now in some markets, by utilizing Navic and Invidi technology that is deployed by cable operators and satcasters, TV viewers will have the opportunity, through manipulation of the TV remote, as program content takes a break and commercial messaging begins, to:

Telescope, An application that allows a viewer to link from the TV commercial to more video content and/or text and graphics.

Request Interaction. A direct response mechanism that allows a viewer to request additional information, whether through couponing, brochures, or contact with a salesperson.

Microsite. A Web like site that is accessed through the set-top box and can offer a combination of long-form video, request for interaction, additional text and graphics.

On-Demand The ability to access long-form content on demand.

Bookmarking Similar to the "bookmarking" feature on computers, this allows a viewer to have easy access to "favorites" or other video in a playlist format. Note: this application has not yet been deployed.

And then again, people will always have the option to hang out in the kitchen or bathroom scrutinizing their stop watch, counting the seconds, until the commercial pod dwindles down -- a constitutional right.

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