‘Clickable Moments’ Can Add Up

May 11, 2008  •  Post A Comment

Watch out, Google: Internet searching could be as close as your TV’s remote control.
With all the time and energy being spent by industry experts trying to figure out which TV ads “work” and how to measure, you’d think TV was some kind of “new” media.
For those of us who develop retail television campaigns for a living, the only indication of success that we really care about is the advertiser’s cash register ringing—all other metrics mean little in the end.
A very smart group of folks at a firm called Backchannelmedia is putting TV ads to the test, in real time, and in terms of viewer purchase interest. Viewers with a Backchannelmedia software-enabled TV or set-top box are able to interact through their existing TV remote control when prompted by a non-intrusive icon on the screen. The viewer then “bookmarks” that interest and forwards it to a personalized home page on the Web within 10 seconds.
The initial launch, now under way, will involve up to 1,000 viewers in the Boston area for a 12-month period.
I recently spoke with Backchannelmedia founder Michael Kokernak about this exciting technology:
TelevisionWeek: Where is this concept going to take us in terms of the eventual melding of television with the Internet?
Michael Kokernak: The TV is a trusted appliance in today’s homes, with professionally produced content and with unparalleled picture and sound, and with the navigation of video content continually improving (via on-demand and DVRs). With the introduction of the “TV click-through to the Web,” today’s television will remain as relevant to Americans tomorrow as it has been for the past 60 years. This concept of passive video search allows you to save your favorite moments from TV, whether it is a song from a new band on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” or the latest New York Times bestseller on “Oprah.” In time, as TV content is increasingly tailored to utilize these “bookmarks” to the Internet, the secure TV return path or “backchannel” will become more important to many TV viewers, and a must-have service, than what we classify at Backchannelmedia as the “stand-alone” Internet.
TVWeek: How does this tool help the viewer have a better TV and online experience?
Mr. Kokernak: When it boils down to it, there are about 3,000 to 4,000 video content production facilities in the U.S., from cable networks and broadcast stations to syndication companies. The Backchannelmedia experience allows the viewer to sample the best television video content while also being able to “bookmark” specific areas of interest within today’s content to the Internet for a deeper content experience. For instance, now a person could watch “TMZ” and forward via e-mail their favorite TV segments virally to their friends. Backchannelmedia marks the beginning of the concept of “passive video search” on today’s TV platform through bookmarking to the Web. Audience size will still be a primary metric for advertisers, but as more video content is linked to the Web, the value of the existing TV platform will increase and become more relevant to consumers, and audience size will over time be less of a factor in a program’s success or failure.
TVWeek: How will viewers be able to access the information they have bookmarked with their TV remote?
Mr. Kokernak: It’s very simple, as it has to be, or people won’t use it. At the viewer’s leisure, whether it is immediately or a month after they click on their TV remote, he or she is able to access this information on their own personalized portal on the Web. It takes about as long to set up as a Web-based e-mail account and it is free and at no cost to the consumer with any hardware, unless they opt for an over-the-air set-top box. Pushing the clicks to a robust Web portal allows the user to customize their site to their own visual and communication preferences. For example, a viewer could customize their portal to be able to send out e-mail alerts, SMS text messages and generate RSS feeds containing click information if they’re on the go.
TVWeek: What categories will be popular on your remote button?
Mr. Kokernak: Everything and anything. Once you open your mind to the bookmarking experience, soon you will discover that virtually any video content can link to a related link on the Web. Soon the vestiges of an interactive television time gone past, riddled with cutting references to “pizza delivery” or the “Jennifer sweater,” will drop off into the background and be replaced by “clickable moments.” In a study recently conducted by the Parthenon Group, nearly half of all TV viewers would use their remote control to forward electronic coupons to a portal on the Internet immediately upon adopting the system. These clickable moments provide a deeper TV experience, something viewers and advertisers have been longing for decades. It is no longer a dream but a reality, and WCVB-TV [in Boston] is currently streaming clickable moments over their broadcast spectrum today. We also asked WCVB President and General Manager Bill Fine why the station and Hearst-Argyle agreed to test the Backchannelmedia technology. Mr. Fine said, “WCVB-TV enthusiastically agreed to the test, believing Backchannelmedia has developed a game-changing technology that marries TV and the Internet to the benefit of our viewers and advertisers. We wanted to be involved on the ground floor, the earliest adopter if you will, working with Backchannelmedia to develop an irresistible advertising proposition for our clients and easy source for viewers to interact with their viewing experience on WCVB.” So maybe we should spend more time watching what the consumer wants from a television message and stop trying to figure out how “engaged” he is in television commercials. After all, the fact that a buyer will click for more information is a much more powerful testament to his buying interest than any indicator we’ve seen so far.
Adam Armbruster is a senior partner with Red Bank, N.J.-based retail and broadcasting consulting firm Eckstein, Summers, Armbruster & Co. He can be reached at adam@esacompany.com or 941-928-7192.


  1. You must see this video
    wow! Unbelieveable video!!
    John Bridger wanzaznaw@yahoo.com

  2. You make blogging look like a walk in the park! I’ve been trying to blog daily but I just cant find writing material.. you’re an inspiration to me and i’m sure many others!

  3. I love the expression. Everyone needs to express there own opinion and feel free to hear others. Keep it up 🙂

  4. Way to focus and straight to your point, i love it. Keep up the work people. Dont let anyone stop us bloggers.

  5. Great wordpress blog here.. It’s hard to find quality writing like yours these days. I really appreciate people like you! take care and see you soon

  6. Interesting layout on your blog. I really enjoyed reading it and also I will be back to read more in the future.

  7. You make blogging look like a walk in the park! I’ve been trying to blog daily but I just cant find writing material.. you’re an inspiration to me and i’m sure many others!

  8. High quality info here! Keep up the great work. I love the feelings being expressed.

  9. Nice blog here! Also your website loads up fast! What host are you using? I wish my website loaded up as fast as yours lol

  10. Neat blog layout! Very easy on the eyes.. i like the colors you picked out

Leave a Reply to Buy Backlinks Cancel Reply

Email (will not be published)