4oD widens interactive TV ad service

Channel 4's download service 4oD is set to become the first major internet TV service to introduce interactive ads on a wider scale.

The broadcaster is planning to roll out the web's version of "red button" ads, typically employed in interactive TV advertising campaigns.

While watching the downloaded content, viewers will see a red button with a branding message appear underneath the action.

They will be prompted to click on the button, at which point the video will pause and the user will land on a branded campaign website.

Sarah Rose, head of video-on- demand at Channel 4, said: "We've signed up a lot of blue-chip advertisers who now want to see interactivity, so we're shifting our road map. It's a new format for advertisers and agencies to deal with, but we're getting there.

"We're telling them to please think creatively."

In June, 4oD signed its first third-party content deal, allowing viewers to download National Geographic shows from 4oD. Rose said that there are more to follow in the next few months.

She added: "This is the start of 4oD becoming a true internet TV platform that doesn't only show our own programmes."

Channel 4 also said it will shortly make its download service avail-able on Microsoft's new operating system, Vista.

4oD launched into the internet TV market six months ago, and has since seen the BBC and ITV roll out rival internet TV offerings.

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