Interactive Television Is Here — Really


New Orleans — This time, interactive
television is really real. Really.

At a CTAM Summit panel last Monday,
Peter Low, chief operating officer of vendor
Ensequence, declared, “The real concrete
fact is, real things are happening
for the first time. We have the capability
in place to create interactive applications
across multiple television platforms, and
it’s happening in a regular fashion.”

Cox Communications has had interactive
applications in its three biggest markets, and
they get used a lot, Cox vice president of video
strategy and product management Steve
Necessary said. Th e MSO has a strong user
base for advertising applications, he said.

As Cox converts its interactive system to
Enhanced TV Binary Interchange Formatenabled
applications, “we’re going to make
money with it,” Necessary said. “EBIF is
positioned to enable that.”

Lisa Meier, vice president of sales at Time
Warner Cable, said interactive and multiplatform
applications were beginning to take a
bite out of direct mail, the biggest player in
the $7 billion Los Angeles ad market.

Canoe Ventures is finding interactivity is
powerful in advertising applications. When
advertisers use interactivity and an RFI [request
for information] application, unaided
recall of the advertiser’s brand is 130% higher,
according to Canoe chief operating officer
Kathy Timko. With polling and trivia applications,
recall rose 167% and intent to purchase
was up more than 40%, she said.

Low said Ensequence did an interactive
program with History and a satellite-
TV provider, and ratings for the program
rose 18%.

While not offering guarantees, “what
we are seeing for the first time is consistent
enough data to show it’s likely.”

Canoe’s Timko said the cable-industry
consortium expects to have 25 million
households enabled to run interactive EBIF
applications by the end of the year. “Canoe
is about scale,” she said. “If we allow the
consumer to interact, they will engage.”

Jon Lafayette is business editor of B&C.