Magazine article Marketing

Amanda Andrews on Media: Ads Take on New Dimension

Magazine article Marketing

Amanda Andrews on Media: Ads Take on New Dimension

Article excerpt

Sky's plans to roll out a 3D HD TV service may be better for advertisers than for viewers' waistlines.

Telly addicts are the target of the government's latest anti-obesity campaign, which attempts to draw children away from the TV and on to the football pitch.

There are strong forces working against the Department of Health's (DoH) efforts, however - particularly, new digital TV technology from the likes of BSkyB. It emerged last week that TV viewing in the UK has reached a record high - despite competition from online services - thanks to PVRs.

The average person watched 26 hours and 18 minutes of broadcast TV each week in 2008, which is 48 minutes more than in 2007, according to TV marketing body Thinkbox. It said that people watch more after buying digital recorders such as Freeview+ or Sky+.

As purse strings tighten, families are staying at home and watching more TV, with BSkyB and Virgin contracts apparently the last thing they'll cut. As BSkyB chief executive Jeremy Darroch has pointed out, a monthly Sky+ contract costs less than a family trip to the cinema, if you include the cost of snacks and drinks.

The broadcaster last week beat analyst expectations by announcing that it had added 171,000 pay-TV customers in the final quarter of 2008, taking its total to 9.24m. It remains confident it can reach 10m by 2010.

It is Sky's forecast for take-up of its high definition (HD) service that is truly ambitious, though. It expects to have 3m HD customers by the time of the 2012 Olympics. Last week it took the radical step of reducing the price of its HD box from pounds 150 to pounds 49, as it seeks to convince the 7m homes with HD-ready TVs to convert.

The broadcaster has demonstrated a 3D HD service, which undoubtedly further unnerved the DoH. Forget a trip to a football or boxing match - Sky will take you there without even the need to leave your sofa.

It intends to equip viewers with 3D spectacles, promising it will sign deals with designer frame-makers, and says it is in dialogue with production companies that could result in living rooms being virtually transformed into 24's CTU headquarters or Lost's jungle.

Greater take-up of Sky's HD service could have positive repercussions for advertisers. Improved quality will naturally mean more viewers, but it is the 3D service that will provide the most advertising opportunities.

Imagine the impact of Cadbury's 'Gorilla' in 3D. While more costly to make, this is a way to produce enticing spots when some viewers use PVRs to skip ads. …

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