A few weeks ago MediaPost Editor Joe Mandese wrote about the season of discontent between satcaster EchoStar and what was, until days prior, its primary sales representative The Media Group, formerly known as The Turner Media Group. The article, "Interactive TV Developer Turner Files For Bankruptcy, Move Follows Loss Of Exclusive EchoStar Ad Deal To Google," opened with the following declarative: "IN A MOVE BOUND TO send shockwaves through the interactive TV advertising business...". Hyperbole perhaps. Sells copy. But I figured I wouldn't weigh in. In my opinion, it is never positive for a burgeoning industry to have doubt created in the minds of its constituency when one of its members is challenged on questionable practices.
Multichannel News followed up a week later with: "TMG: Dish's Net Drops Forced Bankruptcy Filing." Still I didn't flinch. Had opinions. But felt when a crowd gathers to witness a possible guillotining, the media community does not need another person standing in queue to register the names and crimes of those accused.
Then yesterday, I received a notice at my home from the United States Bankruptcy Court For The District Of Colorado, hosted by the Honorable Elizabeth E. Brown, case numbered 07-18546 about the retention of Kurtzman Carson Consultants as Claims, Noticing and Balloting Agent for the Turner Media Group's Jointly Administered Chapter 11. I thought that given my passion for and nurturing of the interactive televisual space, I should say something. I know that this would be a good time to include the Dickens quote - "It is a far, far better thing that I do...." But I won't.
Hopefully, EchoStar and TMG will resolve their issues quietly and in a timely manner. However, in the interim, we should focus on the possible positive developments for the ITV community. Currently, EchoStar offers one of the largest footprints for interactive television applications in the industry. Now that they have created an internal sales force and are reaching out to the ad community directly, hopefully the following will become standards and practices of the new regime:
¨ Paperwork will exist.
¨ There will be far fewer preemptions of purchased commercial inventory.
¨ Commercials that have been preempted will be made good with the involvement of the advertiser agency for approval, rather than discovery during the post-analysis phase.
¨ Research for inventory purchases that include itv applications will include all interactions.
¨ All long-form video, whether standalone or in the microsite, will be measured.
¨ Advertisers who wish to utilize the platform's ability to telescope directly from a live commercial to long-form content will no longer have to pray that their link appears seamless to the viewer.
¨ The discontinuation of the phrase "looping video."
¨ Post analyses will be delivered within a reasonable time period following the end of the flight.
¨ The term IAD will be stricken from all interactive television speak.