New York -- Canoe Ventures' recent shuttering of its interactive TV advertising business is not the death knell to the ITV industry that everyone fears it is. In fact, it may even propel the industry forward.
That was the consensus among executives on the "What's Next for Interactive TV Ads?" panel during B&C/Multichannel News' Advanced Advertising event, "Setting the 2012 Agenda" here Wednesday afternoon.
"In terms of Canoe, I don't think it affects anything from the advertising perspective," said Mitch Oscar, executive vice president, televisual applications for MPG.
Oscar argued that Canoe's constant attempts to change the ITV industry had forced everyone else to wait around. "Canoe went to reinvent the wheel, so that everyone could get to all the operators and agencies all together and get a good sense of what was going on," said Oscar. "Canoe made everyone stand in line.. we can move forward now."
Jeff Siegel, senior vice president, worldwide advertising at Rovi, on the other hand, thought Canoe made a valiant attempt to push the industry forward. "I'd love to have seen Canoe succeed; I think it was the right idea," he said, although he agreed that the loss of the company from the ITV world won't affect Rovi. "We have our own business."
Canoe's loss apparently may be everyone else's gain. A Harris poll conducted last year said 79% of TV viewers want ITV programming and 73% want two-way interaction with advertising. Siegel said that the initial aftermath of the Canoe announcement caused some advertisers to wonder about the future of ITV. "That couldn't be further from the truth," he said.
Peter Low, president & CEO of Ensequence, which helps companies build ITV businesses said that 20% consumers that have interactivity available will use it. "That's a good number," said Low. "That 20% uses interactivity for 15-20 minutes... that's a good number." Low said that 15-20 minutes makes time-spent viewing increase, which in turn helps ad rates grow.
Dave Del Beccaro, president and CEO of Music Choice talked about the company's 24/7 interactive network, SWRV. "Everything that happens on the television screen is a function of interactivity," said Del Beccaro. "Customers interact through their tablets, through their [laptops], through their phones."
Del Beccaro said this summer Music Choice will be working with a major operator that will allow the viewer to get access to "all the potential content that could possibly make sense" for that particular show through their tablet or phone and play it back through the VOD system on their television. "The tablet and the phone is the technology," said Del Beccaro, who argued that the industry should be embracing "second screen" technology.
Kevin Smith, group vice president, spotlight integrated media sales for Comcast Spotlight -- which has executed more closer to 2,000 campaigns for clients and served over 2.7 billion impressions -- said the key is maximizing the value of ITV and other integrated media campaigns. "What works the most out of that integrated campaign?" said Smith. "I think we're learning what that is."