Best Interactive TV Ads: BroadBandBananas
Interactive TV (iTV) is widely available in the UK, but much less widespread in the rest of the world.
Photo credit: Brian Alexander
On the European continent the authorities and operators are still staggering over international guidelines and regulations and seemingly insurmountable obstacles like choice of platform and equipment standardization.
Digital television, an essential requisite for widespread adoption in most of Europe, is only slowly starting to make headway. If cable-based iTV is ever to see the light of day there, it will most probably be based on the open standard Multimedia Home Platform (MHP), developed by a large, international consortium of hardware manufacturers.
Marketing specialists naturally found their way to exploit Interactive TV as the ideal channel for manufacturers to project and recommend their products and services to highly targeted audiences: only those viewers who are likely to be interested in a particular product will pick up the cue to watch a particular advertisement. Hence the logical creation of the concept of Interactive Advertising, a billion-dollar industry with big, multi-national contenders.
The hype about iTV is based on the fact that it allows viewers to create their own personalized TV experience using just their remote control.
- alter their viewing experience altogether, for example by ordering specific shows in a particular order
- adjust the current program to their taste, for example by changing the camera viewing angle in a football match
- display an up-to-date TV guide
- instantly call up additional, relevant information, for example by displaying a person's background details
- obtain local or time-related information, such as local news headlines or the weather
- participate in a live quiz, with the chance of being invited into the studio
- get involved in a show or a program, for example by solving a murder mystery
- play a game or gamble in a lottery
- send SMS messages
- order services or purchase items, for example pizza deliveries or household items
Of course participation in several of these applications will be charged for by the iTV operator. Interactive TV requires the presence of a so-called set-top box connected to a phone line and a cable, satellite or IP-based Internet connection. Any of these setups ensures the two-way communication necessary for iTV.
In general, it is really hard to articulate what the iTV experience is in writing, but once you show someone a video - suddenly people start to understand how compelling these new digital mediums are.
Problem is: how do you show iTV in any detail?
Many sites discussing the advantages of iTV link to Broadband Bananas, a site created by a couple of UK-based entrepreneurs. They have collected a lot of material about iTV and about Interactive Advertising in particular.
Iflike meyou have never been able to experience iTV hands-on, this Broadband Bananas site (BBB) is really an interesting place.
Broadband Bananas is a free online resource about interactive television which has over 25,000 registered users. In addition to several resource sections relating to vendor listings, news headlines and events--some of which is hidden behind a registration form--Web site visitors are offered a comprehensive archive of all kinds of iTV videos and advertisements.
Each of the clips is available as .wmv file, the file format native to Microsoft Windows Media Player. No registration is required to access the video files.
While playing back any of the video files it is easy to see how the outcome is influenced by the usage of the iTV controls.
With 100-250 word detailed descriptions of each iTV clip, this catalog is certainly a goldmine for anyone interested in iTV.
BBB's custom DVD compilations of the iTV clips available in their archivesup to 10 recordings gathered on one DVDare offered for the amount of GBP 495 (ca USD 925) (the amount being disclosed after a customer fills in a web inquiry form).
These custom-made DVDs do not comprise BBB's own material, such as reports, analyses, reviews or other personal contributions.
According to BBB, the fee required is related to the search and duplication of videos in their archives. BBB obviously does not provide any rights for the redistribution of the content it sells. You would have to contact the brands/agencies directly involved, if you wished to republish the video clips included in their custom DVD compilations in some form.
The company claims it does not 'sell' DVDs and in response to a specific email request from us replied that:
"We are not providing content for entertainment. Nor are we acquiring licensed content from other parties, we are monitoring developments in the industry for educational and historical purposes."
As a matter of fact, interactive advertising and other interactive TV examples would be virtually impossible to clear under any terms as one would need to clear the music rights, the agency rights, the TV channel broadcasting rights and then the rights of the creative people involved in developing the interactive ad itself.
The BBB people position themselves as data researchers and compilers on specific areas of the iTV industry based on custom client requirements.
BBB says it does not publish, duplicate or produce this content for anyone else
but for specific, individual client requirements. In such fashion, they claim to be providing a service, and not a product.
Check out Broadband Bananas' great archive of interactive TV ads right here.
Isn't this a wonderful opportunity showcasing how the filtering, aggregation and (custom) reuse of content can provide unlimited opportunities to new-media publishers?
Sources, Related Articles
Understanding Interactive TV, portal for Interactive Television research resources (reports, theses, research papers)
EC Commission document about interoperability of digital interactive television services (PDF, published July 30th 2004)
Interactive TV Today (news source)
A guide to interactive TV (WhiteDot's criticial perspective on Interactive Television)
Interactive Television and Privacy: Will They Be Watching You Watching Them? by Martin Keane and Ruth Nelson (2002)[ Read more ]
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