Interactive Television

If consumers pay less for content on the net, media enterprises will need to turn to advertising to sustain incomes. One technology that could improve the effectiveness of advertising is Interactive Television (iTV).

iTV is television with a “return path”. Information flows not only from the network to viewer, but also back from viewer to network. This is useful provided the system has the ability to customise viewers’ content.

Some degree of interactivity, such as on-demand delivery and online shopping and banking, has existed for some time. But to be truly interactive, the viewer should be able to control the viewing experience. For instance if you are watching a tennis match, with iTV you could choose to watch at an angle where the camera focusses on your favourite player.

Interactivity has four main applications:

  • Customized viewing experience: Viewers are able to control their viewing experience.
  • T-commerce: Viewers will be able to use their remote to shop for products advertised on the screen without dialling a phone.
  • Other frills: Viewers can pause live TV or record shows, click on advertisements (or other content) for more details.
  • Consumer analytics: Analysis of the clickstream can provide marketers with a profile of each viewer, revealing their needs and preferences. This should help better direct advertising (addressable advertising) and direct marketing efforts.

Addressable advertising could greatly improve advertising effectiveness by targeting products and advertising messages that are better attuned to individual households. The click stream would tell marketers which ads are being accessed, and allow them to alter ad messages in real time.

Interactivity is still experimental for now, yet companies are hoping that in-built interactive elements will serve to differentiate their content, enhance customers’ viewing experiences, and permit advertisers to better  direct their marketing efforts.

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