Thursday, April 23, 2009

TiVo Promotes Ads It Hopes You’ll Talk to, Not Zap

Tivo, the company that encouraged its subscribers to skip ads and get more TV for your hour of viewing, now wants to be a better friend to advertisers; well its own advertisers anyway. Sure keep skipping through ads, but if you use a trick feature, like pause or fast forward, you'll be encouraged to click and interact with a particular ad message. "Advertisers can choose the specific show or genre they want their pause ad to appear on — Mercedes-Benz USA used it to promote a new car during football games earlier this year. TiVo also offers ads that appear when viewers fast-forward through shows." Networks are probably not happy that their own ads are being challenged by their distributors ads.

"It is in a footrace with other companies, including Cablevision, Cox Communications and DirecTV, to offer interactive alternatives to the zapped-through television spots. The ads are called interactive because they ask the viewer to do something — enter in a new channel number, press a button on the remote — to get more information." Cable also has started a joint venture, Canoe, to assist them.

So what do the networks, both broadcast and cable, think of this capability. Will advertisers pull their ads off the networks to utilize the technological capabilities of the various distributors? Or will they have to partner with these same distributors to assure their piece of the interactive ad marketplace? And ultimately, will the viewer interrupt their show to watch an ad, even one that is positioned for them, or simply skip through it as they do now? Interactive advertising - fad or future?