For the foreseeable future, broadcasters will not have the capability to insert addressable advertising at the set top box level. But this technical limitation should not keep the broadcast
industry today from investigating interactive technologies that could increase the value of mass media content.
By crafting "pass-through" agreements with cable
operators, broadcast networks and local broadcasters could potentially enable viewers to interact with their TV content. In essence, remote control "click" responses would be forwarded,
using the return path of cable, back to the source of broadcast origination. Using this method, viewers could click a commercial and that respondent's opted-in "click" data could
be captured by the broadcaster. Advertisers, with the broadcaster's permission, could then be provided with TV click-through reports linked to their mass media schedules.
Interactive TV providers should provide the marketer tools to drill down to the zip codes of those consumers that "engaged," via results gathered from follow-up email campaigns sent
once interested viewers opted-in and "clicked" their TV remotes. A car dealership, or fast food franchisee, would be able to zero in on the exact neighborhood, content, and time
of day where its television advertising was most effective. By linking the reach of broadcast to the metrics of the Internet, TV stations could deliver two powerful forms of advertising for every
avail sold. In addition, offline marketing (like roadside billboards or direct mail) could be coordinated within areas of high customer concentration as determined by the "TV click"
Theoretically broadcasters would introduce interactive technologies on a cable-system-by- cable-system basis. Advertisers would first measure their television campaigns
within just a few "interactive enabled" zip codes of each broadcaster. As more cable "pass-through" distribution deals are struck, zip code penetration will increase and
provide advertisers with a more detailed profile of interactive markets. This managed roll-out approach -- local content and avails ranked by total "clicks" continually adjusted as
each market's penetration grows-- could eventually be expanded to include national and syndicated programming.
Today we use sample-based program ratings and estimated budgets to
build a schedule. But this leaves out of the equation the viewers who could actually be watching the TV commercial and not be counted in the estimate. Interactive television captures that lost
value from those channel-grazers. The technology, theoretically, could still allow broadcasters to grow revenue based on audience reach, while simultaneously building a new revenue stream by supplying
opt-in "click" data to advertisers, right down to the zip code and household level