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Family playing with puzzle pieces illustrates the engagement to come with interactive ads

With ATSC 3.0 on the Way, Interactive Ads Can Inspire Local TV Advertisers

September 26th, 2018   ||    by Susan Kuchinskas

Interactive ads on TV are coming to a screen near you. The rollout of ATSC 3.0, the new standard also known as NextGen TV or Advanced TV, is underway.

Stations that adopt ATSC 3.0 will have an easier time offering interactive ads, because the standard supports the integration of over-the-air and broadband transmissions.

Calls to action in these ads can be immediate, flexible, and exciting, according to Tom Goodwin, head of innovation at Zenith Media. He wrote in Forbes that we’ll see a whole new range of calls to action, such as “add to Amazon basket,” as well as the ability to download a mobile voucher or add a store’s location to Google maps.

Interactive Ads So Far

It’s early days for interactive ads, but a commercial for the 2017 film Alien Covenant shows the power of personalization. Channel 4, a British public service TV broadcaster, ran a special trailer for the science fiction flick that included personalized audio. At the end of the intense spot, an urgent voice calls the viewer by name, saying, “Run!”

This may seem like a small tweak, but it delivered big results, said Channel 4, creating a 54 percent lift in engagement, while driving social conversations across the major social networks.

In another example, Enterprise Rent-A-Car teamed up with Discovery’s Science Channel and web publisher Seeker to promote Enterprise’s Move Forward campaign. Move Forward, designed to position Enterprise as a technology innovator, consists of original video created by Seeker and running on Seeker’s website and social channels, and will be repackaged for the Science and Discovery Channels. In addition, advanced video ads will run across Discovery’s connected TV devices, featuring a full-screen interactive video overlay that lets viewers watch the full Move Forward series. Marketing Dive says this kind of content is likely to attract younger viewers.

MarTech Today gives examples of how technology from Connekt, a company that uses automated content recognition (ACR), could create engaging interactive ads. An in-ad overlay could allow viewers to send coupons to their mobile devices, request more information about an advertised product, find a store, and even shop using the remote.

On a side note, the penetration of NextGen TV growth will likely be the tipping point for fully extending programmatic to TV advertising, notes MarTech Today.

Work in Progress

While the standard was approved in November 2017, there are two market factors influencing its rollout: Stations will need to upgrade their equipment, and consumers will need to buy new television sets or tuner sets in order to enjoy interactivity.

This seems to be happening. TV Technology reports that the technology will reach a third of all US households in late 2019. Meanwhile, 46,000 Ultra HD TV sets are sold every day.

A consortium of broadcasters have designated Phoenix as the first model market where 10 local TV stations will act as a test bed for the technology and consumer interest in it, according to the ATSC.

Local Stations Need Partners

Local station managers and ad reps may be scratching their heads, worrying about how to add still another capability. But creating and serving interactive ads is not something they will need to do on their own.

Just like web publishers, local TV stations will be able to work with an ecosystem of partners to deliver these ads into their programming.

These vendors will be able to make use of stations’ and broadcasters’ first-party data, as well as other data sources, to precisely target ads, report results, and calculate ROI.

And, just as small businesses can use self-service online advertising platforms like Google’s and Amazon’s, some vendors aim to enable them to do the same with local interactive TV ads.

Jim Long, CEO of Didja, a service that provides mobile live streaming to local TV stations, tells Videa, “There’s a big opportunity in eventually allowing the local nail salon to use the camera in their phone to make a nice little ad, and then use some sort of self-serve system to figure out how to best apply a budget and get it into the appropriate channel slots in specific zip codes.”

Combine these capabilities with programmatic buying, and TV advertising will have truly come into its next generation.

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