News

Instant Gratification Key to ITV

7/11/2011 12:01 AM Eastern

While the cable industry moves rapidly
toward standardizing the way it implements interactive
TV, the electronic-fulfillment component of ITV has been
overlooked. In actuality, electronic fulfillment
is the immediate revenue driver for click-totext,
click-to-call or request-for-information
and other remote-control and set-top-boxenabled
interactive-television applications.

Fulfillment for interactive television is the
ability to instantly execute, deliver and complete
a subscriber’s request. “Instant” is the operative
word. Instant electronic fulfi llment that
is scalable is the key component that not only
drives revenue, but also sets MSOs apart from
their competitors. The speed and scalability of
electronic fulfillment is paramount to achieving
the much anticipated incremental revenue.
This revenue is generated from viewers
engaging in interactive television using the remote control.
Platforms must also include a robust back end capable
of instant delivery of the digital assets to the television
or mobile device, confirming the fulfillment process.

Regardless of the nomenclature used to describe fulfi
llment in the interactive space, it is essential that operators
live up to viewers’ expectations of interactivity and
t-commerce in a world of instant gratification. Some important
questions for MSOs and advertisers in current ITV
trials: Does the platform provide a true, end-to-end solution?
What happens behind the scenes on the back end,
after the viewer engages the application using their remote
control? How long does it take to get the product or
information the viewer requested delivered, and in what
manner is it delivered? The interactive process should be
quick and easy. The entire interactive process should be
easily monitored and managed by the advertiser or operator
through an intuitive back-office management
solution.

In addition, unique, template based EBIF
applications that have passed the rigors of
an on-boarding test cycle in the labs should
also be trialed. Th ese ready-made platforms
can immediately monetize an operator’s
EBIF infrastructure deployment. Operators
can be certain that all of the applications
based on the tested templates will deliver
reliable interactive experiences.

There are many advantages to the concept
of instant electronic fulfillment. MSOs and advertisers
can receive an wealth of actiona ble
data measurements, such as purchasing habits,
viewer preferences and demographic information. Local,
regional and national advertisers can acquire new customers
and generate leads with a robust back-end platform. The
financial benefits to the MSO are to be found in both additional
advertising dollars and affiliate commissions paid by
the advertiser. Other factors include the cost-efficient benefit to advertisers who participate in these direct-marketing
campaigns and the increased ratings for program networks.

Instant electronic fulfillment of a viewer’s request is
important in any ITV application. If the viewer experiences
instant gratification, they will come back for more.


Michael Huegel is CEO of iCue TV, a television
commerce fulfillment firm.
September