‘Smart TV’ Gets Viewers Involved

Sep 28, 2008  •  Post A Comment

I’ve been watching with great interest the technology development of the “smart TV.”
By “smart TV,” I mean a television set that allows us to apply Web marketing within a live TV commercial—a very exciting concept. We’ve already reviewed some early equipment development, but the most interesting project we’ve seen so far has been one developed by BrightLine.
With integrated TV and Web tools, BrightLine has been able to create live, real-time, Internet-based viewer interaction with a television commercial.
What could be better for a viewer and a marketer than a live give-and-take through a commercial?
Imagine watching your favorite television program and seeing a message for a product that you want to buy. You then press a specific button on your remote control and almost instantly an e-mail appears in your laptop or smart phone with all of the advertiser’s Web site information, store hours, specials and contact information.
No more writing down Web addresses from TV ads. No more looking in the phone book for the phone number. No more clicking on Google or Yahoo to search for the product or business.
We caught up with BrightLine CEO Jacqueline Corbelli and asked her a few questions about the smart TV phenomenon. Most importantly, we want to know how it could be a game-changer for television/Web marketers.
TelevisionWeek: Does BrightLine represent the smart TV of the future where interactive advertising is concerned?
Jacqueline Corbelli: BrightLine isn’t the smart TV of the future; rather, BrightLine owns the singular method, first-hand insight and expertise marketers must apply to transform conventional television advertising into smart TV. For years the focus where interactive television is concerned, and the media has helped reinforce this perception, has been, “When will the standard scalable technology arrive on the TV scene to really enable ITV advertising to take off?” While the reality is that market-leading advertisers have been getting beyond the standardization and reach challenge and exploiting what’s proving a very malleable ITV medium—to feed an urgent need to raise both interactive and traditional TV advertising effectiveness—for a few years now.
What makes it smart TV is the ability to bend the various digital TV technologies available to connect with target digital TV audiences and inspire them to get more involved with a particular brand or product. BrightLine’s method, extensive insight and design capabilities make that possible and, more importantly for our clients, easy and convenient, often with better results than the Internet can generate on its own.
TVWeek: What application within smart TV have you seen successful?
Ms. Corbelli: The beauty of smart TV is that there are a multitude of applications and features, and when mixed and matched to feed observed behavior, they can drive maximum impact for a diverse array of brands and messages in the marketplace. Marketers are no longer restricted to 30-second units, which given the broad range of marketing messages and objectives out there can be quite limiting. Instead, smart TV allows a whole new level of integration and customized ad experiences that can be tailored to the objectives of each marketer individually, in ways that feed observed viewer behavior. For example, some target demographics are particularly responsive to games, whereas others care more about sweepstakes. With smart TV we can pick from a growing menu of applications to craft what’s emerging as the ideal interactive experience for each.
TVWeek: How does BrightLine see these applications and the medium changing the TV advertising landscape?
Ms. Corbelli: When approached in very deliberate ways that specifically recognize the role of actual, observed consumer behavior, the TV medium is becoming a means for marketers to invite viewers into a compelling organic experience that happens to be advertorial in its content. First-hand data from over 50 custom-designed digital television experiences proves that viewers don’t as a rule have a preference for programmatic over advertorial content when the quality of the content is high and the nature of the experience fits hand-in-glove with their viewing habits. Aside from the growing quantitative evidence we have to illustrate this point, the qualitative evidence we’re generating is further reinforcement—the longer viewers spend actively engaged in some form of TV dialogue with a brand/product, the higher their recall and intent to buy. Over time this will lead to a better mix of media and content that raises the bar on quality and, with it, overall ad effectiveness.
All of this begs the questions: If we will soon have the television and Web tools to captivate a buyer immediately, will there still be a need to buy direct-mail ads, magazine ads or even radio ads? Would we really need any other electronic media? Once television/Web commercials are streamed smoothly onto our phones, would we still need any other signal? Suddenly FM radio seems like it’s from the Dark Ages.
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.


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