As our recent report
pointed out, the potential of internet and IPTV has failed to materialise. One area of untapped potential is interactive or targeted advertising. In spite of more than a decade of red button adverts in the UK these services have never proved commercially viable and in fact were recently withdrawn completely by Sky.
Trials of new technologies continue, however, and Sky has just completed a trial called Adsmart. Its partner was Mediacom, using technology from Packetvision and ads from Nat West, the UK bank. Mediacom's Managing Partner of Implementation & Futures Rhys McLachlan, presenting at this morning's Broadcast and Beyond conference
, called the trial a technical success, but went on to describe the key findings, most of which seemed to present targeted TV ads not so much as an uphill battle as an attempt at Mount Everest.
The first conclusion is that current television audience segmentations are 'rudimentary' at best. In spite of using Sky's own extensive customer database, McClachlan concluded that the segmentations currently used 'cannot be validated'. As far as advertisers are concerned there is simply no consensus on how such audience data should be employed.
Mediacom also found that it was very difficult to find the right metric for audience measurement, and that, critically, it was very difficult to prove the ROI from targeted ads.
Finally, in spite of the advanced technology used, there was simply no proof that advertisements had been delivered and viewed. Effectiveness measurement depended simply on ‘good faith and intuition'.
In spite of these challenges investment in advanced advertising trials continues, and broadband is the key to the future success, according to McClachy. The biggest challenge of all is developing technology which can help advertisers differentiate between single and multi viewer consumption. As we have also noted previously
, asking TV viewers to log in, as some emerging services do, does not solve this problem. Even with the latest advanced technologies in the IPTV world, it seems there is still a long way to go before advertisers will be convinced to spend money on using them.
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