Chrysler to Drive ITV Ads on DirecTV

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DirecTV Inc. cut an advertising deal with DaimlerChrysler’s Chrysler Group that will see the auto company deliver interactive ads to DirecTV subscribers with set-tops enabled with interactive software and to customers with new DirecTV digital-video recorders.

The deal will allow subscribers watching a 30-second spot from DirecTV’s advertising inventory to press a red button on their remote controls to access features such as the ability to schedule a test drive of a car or to view video clips that show the making of the car and how it performs on a track, DirecTV senior vice president Eric Shanks said in an interview.

DirecTV subscribers may also be able to use their remotes to customize a Chrysler 300 on their TV screens by choosing from various paint schemes or wheels, Shanks added.

News Corp.’s British Sky Broadcasting Group plc satellite company in the United Kingdom uses a similar red interactive button on its remote controls, which served as a model for DirecTV’s interactive strategy.

DirecTV also announced that Chrysler has joined its new advertising-development partner program. DirecTV will conduct focus groups with subscribers to measure the effectiveness of the Chrysler ads and help come up with new ideas for interactive ads as part of the program.

Twentieth Television, a News Corp. sibling of DirecTV, oversees ad sales for DirecTV.

Shanks said DirecTV is looking to sign three other “cornerstone advertisers” for the advertising-development partner program. In addition to Chrysler, the direct-broadcast satellite provider has had positive talks with packaged-goods companies, movie companies, video-game sellers and consumer-electronics firms, he added.

DirecTV plans to store interactive content and long-form ads on its new DVRs, which are scheduled to debut in the middle of 2005.

Ads from Chrysler and other interactive advertisers will also be included in the DBS company’s new DirecTV Active interactive-TV service, which is scheduled to launch during the next two weeks.

Advertising from Chrysler and other interactive-TV advertisers will also be added to exclusive DirecTV programming, including its Newsmix and Sportsmix genre mosaic channels and its “NFL Sunday Ticket” out-of-market National Football League package, Shanks said.

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