Creative Must Improve To Secure Cross-Screen Engagement

Greys Anatomy

When it comes to running integrated campaigns across multiple screens, some sales executives suggest the content pipeline remains too empty and advertisers need to step up to fill it.

“You will not have success with true engagement unless you’re prepared to change,” said Joan Gillman, who heads the sales group at Time Warner Cable. “The technology is there -- now the creative has to follow.”

The need for effective messaging that will work in tandem across multiple devices should only increase as estimates call for the average U.S. home to have six video-enabled screens, propelled by an Internet connection, by 2015.

Gillman’s comments were published in a report by Canoe Ventures chronicling discussion at a “TV of Tomorrow” event in December. Canoe, which is owned by TWC and five other cable operators, was a top-line sponsor.



Summarizing comments by National CineMedia Sales and Marketing Chief Cliff Marks, the Canoe report said: “Ultimately, the technologies and innovations driving the connected device, multiplatform scene won’t come together until the brand side figures out how to make it all relevant.”  

One reason that advertisers may be moving slowly is the lack of a system to measure performance across many of the six screens, the report said.

Canoe has a product that delivers request-for-information ads on at least seven cable networks in at least 15 million homes. The ads allow a viewer to order a sample or brochure using a remote control. Canoe argues, however, that even if a viewer does not take advantage, brand awareness increases as a result of interactive spots. Perhaps the invitation to click on the screen simply drives engagement.

“Click rates are not going to be a huge part of the audience,” Canoe executive Jonathan Bokor said in the report. “But the big news is that’s OK. The whole audience benefits from the brand.”

The event also brought some discussion about automatic content recognition (ACR), where an audio code of a show is picked up and links with interactive opportunities on a companion device or screen.

Michael Collette, who has been in the interactive TV business for years, said that by 2013, every TV sold will have an ACR ability. Shows that offer interactive ACR applications include “On the Edge with Peter Lik” on the Weather Channel and ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy.”

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