Chinwag's Old Blog: New Digital & Interactive TV Marketing Discussion List

Our new list, uk-digitaltvmarketing, covering all aspects of marketing using interactive television (iTV) and digital tv soft launched a couple of weeks ago. Over 100 people have signed up so far, and the discussion is beginning to get going now.

I've always found it a fascinating area, and despite my cynicism have been experimenting with Sky Interactive more and more over the last few months. Ironically, the most impressive interactive TV applications I've seen have originated from the hallowed (and particularly well-funded) halls of the BBC. The coverage of the Winter Olympics and Wimbledon was outstanding...well, if you're into those sports.

The idea for the list was sparked when we helped out our friends at iTV specialists Weapon7 with some research into marketer's attitudes to interactive TV: iTV: a view from the trenches.

A copy of the research is available for download on the uk-digitaltvmarketing page, where you can also subscribe to the discussion list. Sign-up now and take part...

I'm particularly interested in the fact that the development of iTV seems to be the complete antithesis of the web. High cost of entry, walled gardens controlled by the media companies, paying for content from the outset. Perhaps it's not surprise that games in particular are doing so well on iTV. It's interesting to see despite some of the early trials and tribulations of FMCG brands using iTV, the brands and their agencies still see iTV as an important component of their activities...and I quote:

"The research reveals that the majority of the media industry believes it's important for iTV to be considered as part of the marketing mix demonstrating a
growing awareness of the benefits iTV presents across advertising and content. iTV can extend and reinforce brand messages, involve viewers for longer, enable dialogue, enhance recall and facilitate response and measurement.

Despite increasing awareness, a range of hurdles remains to be overcome before iTV becomes broadly accepted as a "must have" extension to TV. These hurdles include a lack of knowledge amongst industry decision makers and traditional media's processes and supply chain structures."

Here's some stats from the report to get your thought processes whirring:

  • 80% of respondents are familiar with the new advertising opportunities enabled by iTV and digital broadcast.
  • Between 60% and 70% consider it important to have an understanding of iTV technologies, yet the same proportion admits to having a limited awareness of the capabilities these technologies provide.
  • 82% of respondents believe the current interactive experience is rewarding for consumers at home in their living rooms, although close to two thirds can recall less than15 interactive advertising campaigns having gone to air.
  • Over 70 interactive advertising campaigns have gone to air this year alone on Sky.
  • 70% consider iTV effective in providing more information yet only 30% perceive it as being effective in increasing brand awareness and recall.
  • 71% expect most broadcast commercials to include some form of interactivity by the year 2005.
  • 90% of Media and Creative agencies believe that iTV should be considered as part of the marketing mix.
  • Over 60% believe that there remain significant hurdles to overcome before iTV achieves broad industry acceptance.
  • Over 61% of respondents strongly agreed that iTV should be seamlessly linked to broadcast.

Looks pretty positive to me, although I'm slightly surprised that there's still a lack of knowledge in this area considering it's been around for a while now, and there's been so many campaigns making use of the technology.

I hope that the cash crunch at the cable companies will see them push their interactive services harder, to try and extract some return on investment from all the money they've spent putting the infrastructure together. If this was coupled with BSkyB lowering the cost of entry for iTV activity on their platform, it'd certainly make the whole area a lot more fertile.

It'd be nice if the UK was the test environment for these iTV services, there's such a power house of TV production in this country, it'd be fantastic if this was coupled with the same level of expertise in the iTV arena. From the people I've met working in this area, it looks like it's happening...maybe all that money the Beeb is investing in iTV services isn't wasted?

I'm rambling, and as everyone knows, that's best done on a discussion list. So, if you're interested in talking more about this area, I'd encourage you to sign-up for the list. As with all Chinwag lists, it's easy to get on, and importantly get off. There's two modes: individual (emails will arrive as soon as they are sent to the list) and digest (emails are bundled together and sent as one large email at the end of the day).