Delegates push interactive ads

Delegates push interactive ads

Interactive advertising: industry call for a dedicated television channel

Interactive TV advertising looks set to explode after a packed presentation organised by the IPA last week attracted more than 150 representatives from media and advertising.

The rise in interest comes after Procter & Gamble, BT and Unilever backed a new initiative to lobby for a digital TV channel dedicated to interactive ads.

Shuvo Saha, head of interactive marketing with Procter and Gamble UK, said interactive TV advertising offered very good targeting opportunities since the audience is largely selfselecting.

"Although iTV advertising is limited by the channel penetration, the response rates are better versus other media," he said.

Saha called on advertising agencies to get involved in the new Consortium4TV initiative, being co-ordinated by Zip Television, which has the backing of Reckitt Benckiser (the world leader in household cleaning products), Procter & Gamble, Unilever, BT, Honda, Orange and Gillette.

The consortium hopes to create an independent channel on satellite TV designed by advertisers, for advertisers and their agencies, specifically for serving interactive TV advertising.

In a separate presentation, Scott Gronmark, head of Interactive TV programmes for the BBC, asked agencies to get involved in iTV to further drive its take-up and "break out of the ad-break".

"I'd love to see adverts soaked with interactivity," he said. However.

he warned that agencies would have to be more creative in their use of iTV than in the past, adding that the public's appetite for voting through their TV was slowly going down Last year's Big Brother series attracted 22 million votes, 25% of which were via interactive TV.

Since 2000, the number of iTV ads has increased from 17 to 130 so far this year.

Nigel Sheldon, managing partner with MindShare, said enhanced TV applications like weather on demand or movie previews were gradually eating into internet audiences, taking back some of the audience that has been lost in recent years.

Panellists largely backed the current dominance of Sky as the only workable interactive TV platform in the UK, until such time as interactivity on digital terrestrial is made more viable.

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