Magazine article Marketing

Media Analysis: Press Green for the Future

Magazine article Marketing

Media Analysis: Press Green for the Future

Article excerpt

Sky is leading the charge in offering iTV ad opportunities more relevant and convenient for viewers.

Innovation is not a word often associated with TV advertising. With the exception of the red button, marketers have had little more than the 30-second spot and programme sponsorship at their disposal for the past 50 years.

The status quo is set to change, however, with advances in digital-satellite technology and a rise in the uptake of personal video recorders (PVRs) helping to unlock further opportunities for TV advertisers.

Sky, for example, is stepping up its interactive TV (iTV) strategy with the launch of a service that will allow viewers to access on-demand ads via the green button on the remote control. Instead of pressing red to enter an iTV application, Sky+ users will be able to press green to record an extended version of the execution straight to their PVR.

The initiative marks a significant step in the evolution of TV advertising. When the service goes live next year, consumers will no longer have to interrupt their viewing to engage with an iTV commercial. Instead, they will be given the option of watching a selection of branded content at their leisure.

'We're pursuing a strategy based on long-form advertising,' says Chloe Wilkinson, head of interactive services at Sky Media. 'We're convinced that viewers will seek out branded content that is both entertaining and relevant.'

Sky is working on several initiatives aimed at making TV advertising more effective. As well as 'pre-rolls' to run before programming through its on-demand Anytime TV service, it is working on commercial opportunities for Sky+, which is installed in 2m UK households.

Under the watchful eye of Sky chief executive James Murdoch, the broadcaster is developing 'smart TV' technology that will enable highly targeted commercials. Partitioned hard drives in Sky+ boxes, combined with knowledge of Sky's customer base, will allow personalised ads to be served to individual households. So, using data capture, a TV ad for toothpaste could be delivered to one Sky+ home and one for washing powder to another at the same time.

'The full weight of technological advance is moving toward the TV set in the corner of the living room,' says Nigel Walley, managing director of digital strategy consultancy Decipher. 'Sky's green-button initiative is the first manifestation of a tidal wave of innovations.'

This changing landscape is prompting UK marketers to look to the US, where TiVo has been driving innovation. The PVR manufacturer is offering brands a series of next-generation iTV opportunities that are expected to be replicated by UK broadcasters.

For example, TiVo customers can request to receive commercials relating to a particular sector, such as cars or travel. …

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