Boost sales with interactive TV

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David Verklin
David Verklin

The drumbeat has pounded for decades: Interactive television is here. From Qube to the Full Service Network, from Wink to Navic, there's been no shortage of promises and ballyhoo, but little actual progress to make one believe the TV industry is much closer to fulfilling that promise.

This time it's different. Now, all the key elements are in place, and national interactivity is not only possible; it's in use already. In this era where results need to be measurable and a deeper connection with the consumer is called for, direct marketers have a tremendous opportunity to increase sales with this new arrow in their ad quiver.

Here are five reasons why:

1. A little thing called EBIF. You may not have heard of Enhanced TV Binary Interchange Format before, but you should know about it. EBIF enables uniform interactivity across every single TV set-top box.

This is a huge advance — once EBIF is enabled, ad execution is the same no matter which service provider is used. As EBIF rolls out, more cable networks, including E!, AMC, Discovery Channel and Bravo are adding interactivity to their ad offerings.

2. No disintermediation. This is a use-it-as-it-is medium, employing existing hardware, processes and people.

Subscribers don't need to buy a new box, get a new remote or pay an incremental fee; networks don't need a new sales team to sell it; and advertisers don't even need to shoot new ads since most creative can be fitted with the appropriate overlay.

3. The menu of ITV options keeps growing. From a Request-for-Information ad overlay that lets marketers offer a coupon, a free sample or more information, to T-commerce, which allows viewers to purchase products or services directly from the TV using their remote, the choices allow for a more immediate connection with consumers.

4. It delivers measurable engagement. It's generally accepted that the average click-through rate in the online world hovers around 0.1%. Using an ITV ad campaign gives the advertiser a spot-on count of who engaged with the ad and who chose to receive the offer. Not only is this the first time a TV-based ad campaign can demonstrate Web-like measurability, but Canoe Ventures' planning research shows the average positive response rate is 0.62%. The advertiser gets the measurability of the Web married to the powerful creative environment of TV advertising.

5. It's fast. A response is simply one click of the remote away. No more driving customers to the phone or computer to respond — the power's right there in their hand. So, as any good DR spot would exhort, “What are you waiting for? Call a cable network today!”

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