Friday, February 6, 2009

Power to the :30

Maybe the 30 second commercial isn't so bad after all. As advertising budgets shrink and scale and measurement matter, media buyers have grown disenchanted with the long tail on the web and banner ads that don't get clicked. Interactivity remains the buzzword, and the :30 may just have the power to not only inform the viewer about its brand but to allow them to engage and interact with the product as well. "For example, at Cablevision we’ve developed the Power: 30 (SM), which uses the 30-second unit as the entry point into video on demand (VOD) and interactive television (ITV) channels dedicated to a specific advertiser, and provides marketers and agencies with addressable advertising and telescoping functionality." It certainly appears that this interactivity provides added value. It allows the consumer to take their interest to the next level and explore the ad message in more detail.

As a viewer, the biggest challenge remains switching from the linear content, where you have invested your time to watch a show, to view this advertising content. Whether it would be possible to "bookmark" this message for later interaction could provide even more value as well as consumer friendliness. I may be willing to watch a Disney Park message, but let me wait till after Lost ends. The web enables multiple screens to open and allows me to review my history and my favorites; the TV screen is less flexible at the moment.

Interactivity with ads through the television screen seems the next frontier to conquer. How quickly the consumer embraces this new accessibility and interaction determines its viability. The added value that interactivity brings to a :30 spot should intrigue advertisers trying to measure interest and action. TV is no longer a passive screen and cable has the ability to enable and foster this interactivity. The timing might just be right.

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