Microsoft will work to prove that Bing Pulse can keep television viewers glued to content longer after noticing that the technology deters viewers from switching the channel.
Bing Pulse, an audience engagement technology, gathers live feedback from audiences during any event, on any Web-enabled device and browser. "We've noticed after working with Fox News, CNN and others that people don’t switch the channel if they're engaged with their content and continually rate it," says Dritan Nesho, director, corporate strategy and special projects at Microsoft.
It appears that CNN found a niche strategy to keep viewers locked in longer to political debates and other content. The network began using Bing Pulse, Microsoft's polling platform -- giving viewers the ability to provide instant feedback throughout the debate on the issues being discussed and their sentiments toward each candidate.
During the last broadcast of the Republican National Committee GOP primary debate, CNN pushed the call to action at the end of each segment before the break. Viewers became more engaged with the experience. Coming out of the break they were ready to vote and share their opinion, Nesho says.
Keeping viewers on the channel longer could have positive implications for advertisers, and perhaps reverse the decline in television ad sales. Firms like Magna Global, an ad-buying group owned by the Interpublic Group, predict TV advertising spend in the United States will fall 3.5% in 2015, to $63.3 billion.
How much more engaged and for what length of time will be some of the metrics that Microsoft will aim to determine through independent studies. It will need the data if it wants to convince networks it can run Pulse to rate television commercial in real time as they air.
In the future, television viewers might have the opportunity to watch a 30-sec spot and react to it by providing feedback in real-time. Nesho says a television producer can push a call to action during the last few minutes of a TV program before the advertising spot runs. "It hasn't been done today, but I can see how it might work for TV spots slightly on the longer side," he says.