Consumers Becoming More Comfortable With Interactive Television Advertising

Consumers Becoming More Comfortable With Interactive Television Advertising

BrightLine's recently released study by Jacqueline Corbelli, Chief Executive Officer, and Robert Aksman, Analyst, comprised of analysis of industry and market research, reveals that interactive commercials and sponsored program enhancements are becoming integral to marketers' media planning. The study examines the degree to which consumer interest and technology deployments are influencing the pace of change.

Most people, the study says, have all but dismissed early predictions that interactivity would swiftly emerge to revolutionize the form and content of television programming and advertising. Over the past year, video-on-demand, digital video recorders and high-definition television have received the bulk of industry and media attention, while trends in enhanced programming and advertising have gone largely ignored

One of the most intriguing developments over the past 12 months, the report continues, has been the quiet, yet steady, growth of enhanced television programming. Programmers are now committing to enhanced programming to differentiate networks, retain live viewing audiences, and provide advertising opportunities to marketers. The report estimates that the number of enhanced programming hours has more than doubled in recent years, from approximately 2,000 weekly enhanced hours in 2000 to as much as 4,250 weekly hours currently.

A new level of programmer commitment is evident in the frequency with which television networks are using "prosynchronous" interactivity - the interactive content synchronized with the underlying program. Interactivity is generating higher viewer retention during commercials, better brand recall, and a more loyal fan base. Prosynchronous interactive content, rather than running interactive commercials, remains the leading approach, the study found. BrightLine believes this reflects marketers' ongoing desire to fully integrate brands into programming.

Some notable advances:

- January 2003 - ABC enhanced all four football games of College Bowl Series, marking first time ABC provided interactivity via single-screen platform

- January 2003 - American Music Awards included an on-screen icon prompting viewers to use interactive overlays to retrieve additional information on individual artists

- May 2003 - Day Time Emmy Awards were enhanced to enable viewers to guess the winners, get additional information on actors, and other viewer response features, depending on the interactive platform (onescreen, two-screen, and wireless)

- June 2003 - episode of primetime series The View incorporated survey and poll responses into the show's content Discovery

- The Learning Channel, including Monster Garage, Trading Spaces, Junkyard Wars, and Quest all allow viewers to be included in advertiser offers embedded in the program

- Game Show Network features 12 hours a day of enhanced shows, increasing its weekly enhanced programming hours aired from 55 in 2002, to 84 currently

Other factors contributing to the increase in commitment include:

- Consumers are becoming increasingly receptive to the single screen form of interactive programming found on their television, as growing numbers become more familiar and adept with the interactive interfaces found on DVDs and interactive program guides.

- Digital cable or satellite services (the prerequisite to viewing single-screen enhanced programming and advertising) is now in almost 40 million U.S. households, and there are now over 7 million homes with access to enhanced programming and advertisements in the form of interactive TV shows and commercials (compared to about 100,000 in 1999).

- These developments, along with other market factors, will cause the number of homes with access to enhanced television shows and interactive commercials to reach an unprecedented 15 million by the end of next year.

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