Gilding Guide Promos

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Macrovision Solutions, looking to add some pizzazz to the static banner ads that run in its on-screen guides, is planning to sell full-screen, interactive video sponsorships starting early next year.

The company will launch an interactive ad-mosaic product for the i-Guide interactive program guide in the first quarter of 2009, which will let sponsors link IPG ads to graphical landing pages that let viewers watch video-on-demand promos.

“The banner ad, historically, hasn't been as rich as it could be,” said Macrovision vice president of advanced advertising product management Scott Rosenberg.

The i-Guide IPG, developed through a joint venture with Comcast, is deployed across 6.5 million set-top boxes in systems owned by Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications, Insight Communications, Mediacom Communications, Bresnan Communications and others. (Comcast uses i-Guide as well, but sells its own banner ads.)

A cable operator would deliver the interactive i-Guide mosaics using its video-on-demand servers. “It piggybacks on the existing VOD infrastructure,” Rosenberg said.

Macrovision will kick off trials of the ad mosaics in a few weeks; Rosenberg declined to name the participating cable operators.

The company, which entered the IPG business by acquiring Gemstar-TV Guide International, conducted research on set-top usage showing users clicked on an average of 86 pages in the guide per day, generating 42 daily banner ad impressions. The data was collected Nov. 3 to 10 from 1,100 set-tops in an unidentified Midwestern cable system. Rosenberg presented the findings here last week at the quarterly Collaborative Alliance event hosted by media agency MPG.

“Our goal is to ultimately improve the IPG, to make it a more fulfilling experience for consumers, but we also want to help advertisers and programmers figure out how to use the IPG as a tool to drive viewing,” he said.

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