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GSN Tests Its Interactive Dynamism

Dec 12, 2005  •  Post A Comment

As GSN prepares to roll out its one-screen interactive programming next year to Comcast, Verizon and other distributors, the network has teamed with Ball State University to develop research and data on consumer interest and engagement with interactive advertising.

With four years of experience offering interactive programming and ads on a two-screen basis-by which consumers interact with TV programming using a computer-the network has amassed statistical data on interactive usage. Now it hopes to layer onto that the consumer insight portion to bolster its belief that consumers are indeed engaged with both the content and the commercials.

“If you think of a game show, logically it has to be one of the most engaging forms of TV,” said Mike Bloxham, director of testing and assessment at Ball State’s Center for Media Design. The question is whether that engagement carries over into the advertising.

GSN and Ball State will test responsiveness to commercial messages and commercial recall. The university has recruited a panel of consumers who mirror the GSN interactive audience and will study their engagement with GSN interactive ads over the next few weeks. Data should be available in January.

The study will focus on GSN’s two-screen interactivity since it’s nationally available, but the data should be applicable as well to the one-screen system, by which consumers interact with programming using a remote, said Chris Raleigh, senior VP of ad sales for GSN.

The network will present that information to its advertising partners as it continues to sell two-screen ads and reaches more deeply into one-screen interactivity.

GSN already knows that viewers play along with its interactive games and ads, powered by GoldPocket. Since 2002 the network has logged more than 25 million interactive sessions across its various shows. It now offers 133 interactive hours per week, up from four in 2002, and has conducted 166 ad campaigns.

During those four years, the average viewing time for ITV programming grew from 24 minutes to 35 minutes per session, Mr. Raleigh. “[We want to know] what are the insights into consumer behavior surrounding ITV-whether it’s intrusive, whether it deepens the relationship,” he said.

That information is widely available for traditional linear programming but not for interactive programming, Mr. Raleigh said.

“We actually know very little about how this stuff really impacts the consumer experience,” Mr. Bloxham said.