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iTV is Back! Kinda Sorta November 28, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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I saw a pretty good pitch for iTV ads from Comcast and TV Guide yesterday. They sell banners on the on-screen program guide (EPG or IPG) that, if you click on them, give you extra info or let you play a trailer or order VOD. The ads are available in 17 million digital cable households, likely the most widely deployed iTV app in the US.

The pitch was totally aimed at programmers. I asked later, and there’s no interest from Comcast in doing Tivo Showcase-like infomercials, just tune-in promos and VOD. TV Guide might be a little more flexible, outside of Comcast DMAs. Neither would talk CPMs, and TV Guide said it was in the process of updating its rate card.

As I said, the pitch was pretty compelling. In a world where appointment viewing is fading (their survey said 2/3rds of people don’t know what they’re going to watch when they sit down in front of the set) and flow between shows is just about done (89% check the guide as a new show starts, and 3/4 do so when they’re bored), it’s a good scare tactic to demonstrate the power of on-guide promotions. They had pretty convincing case study data on the ability to promote shows (esp. beyond a premiere), increase the life of free VOD programming, and perk up VOD buy rates.

The slides are here, and worth checking out. Goodness knows, it’s tough to use the Internet alone for hit-making.

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