Interactive TV Ads: Don't Annoy Your Viewers

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Clearly, an irritating deluge of interactive TV ads isn’t a problem today.

For one thing, Canoe Ventures — the advanced-advertising concern formed by the six biggest U.S. cable operators — has yet to commercially launch anything. (Though it says it’s getting close, with the first “community addressable messaging” campaign(s) teed up for next month and interactive ads set for Q4.)

But managing the amount of pop-up ads, VOD spots and other marketing materials presented to consumers on TV is something operators and cable networks should be thinking about now, according to Jeff Sherwin, founder of This Technology.

Sherwin’s New York-based company is looking to provide “advertising supply management” software to programmers and MSOs, which allows those parties to specify how many and what kind of interactive/addressable units are available based on a variety of parameters (by network, time slot, region, cable system, etc.).

There are three issues This Technology’s supply-management system addresses, he says:

(1) determining whether a cable system has the operational capacity to serve the ads sold;

(2) managing inventory to meet market demand (i.e., to create scarcity); and

(3) managing consumer tolerance for interactive TV ads.

The last point is obvious when you think about it. Internet users, of course, generally hate pop-up Web browser ads. Nobody wants to spam a TV viewer with, say, 20 different request-for-information spots in an hour — it’s a surefire recipe for massively maddening people.

“If you’re throwing a ton of ads in front of somebody watching Golden Girls” — may Bea Arthur rest in peace — “you might be pissing some people off,” Sherwin notes.

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