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Ensequence Preps ITV Ad System

Alan Breznick
9/24/2013

An interactive TV advertising specialist is revving up to introduce a new ITV ad system that would work for cable operators, telco video providers, satellite TV providers, and connected -- or smart -- TV manufacturers across the US.

The company, Ensequence Inc. , intends to introduce the national ITV ad platform in the first quarter of 2014 with partners in most, if not all, of the four categories. Its plans call for unveiling that initial set of partners sometime in the fourth quarter and then moving ahead with launches with two or three players in each category. Its current service provider customers include Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), complink 901|Cablevision Systems Corp.}, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV), and Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH).

"We’re pretty deep with each of the four [categories]," says Ensequence CEO Peter Low. "We want to demonstrate that this is possible on all the platforms we’ve talked about, not just cable or satellite."

If all goes according to plan, Ensequence officials say they will launch the ad system early next year with a reach of 20 million interactive TV homes. They aim to expand that reach to as many as 40 million households by the end of 2014, giving them more than half of the estimated 75 million ITV-capable homes in the US.

As envisioned, the new ITV ad system, known as "AdConneqt," will enable service providers, programmers, and advertisers to add interactive elements to standard 30-second TV commercials. Specifically, the interactive upgrades will allow viewers to respond to the 30-second spots with a few clicks of their remote controls, offering advertisers "measurable engagement data," greater accountability, and better sales leads.

Ensequence developed the new platform after crafting a similar, albeit more elementary, ITV ad system for Canoe Ventures LLC , the MSO-backed advanced advertising consortium that dramatically scaled back its efforts and exited the ITV business in early 2012. That earlier system focused on request-for-information (RFI) features. "We did the Canoe platform," Low says. "That was a big undertaking."

Ensequence executives say they added new software components to the platform developed for Canoe so that it can run on other distribution platforms, not just cable systems. They also added audio content recognition (ACR) technology, which can detect the targeted ads automatically and then layer on the interactive elements on the fly.

As part of its launch plans for AdConneqt, Ensequence has been beefing up its executive team. Most notably, the company added David Kline, former president and COO of Cablevision Media Sales, as its new COO last month.

— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

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albreznick
albreznick
9/24/2013 | 9:56:11 PM
Re: Interactive how?
Interesting. And you wouldn't find that intrusive? I think I might.
brookseven
brookseven
9/24/2013 | 7:06:22 PM
Re: Interactive how?
I always thought the ulimate in interactivity was actually not very interactive.  So, lets say Google and Comcast got together and Google shared those ad preference things with Comcast about its subs.

Comcast could then have really super-targeted ads that went only to households that wanted them (inserted at the STB) or even more cool product placements based on those kind of avatars (hey couldn't that coke can really be pepsi or RC?).

seven

 
Sarah Thomas
Sarah Thomas
9/24/2013 | 7:06:15 PM
Re: Interactive how?
haha, No NFL games for me! In fact, I'm in the crowd who'd be interested in buying a cable package without sports...at least as long as I live alone.

I think local businesses could be interesting. Click to get a coupon to come in or find out more. But you don't see a lot of that on big cable networks. hmm maybe new smartphones...more complicated purchases like technology. But, really, it's a longshot still, for me, at least.
albreznick
albreznick
9/24/2013 | 6:03:04 PM
Re: Interactive how?
So, what would be a product you'd be really interested in, Sarah? Maybe an NFL video game? :)
Sarah Thomas
Sarah Thomas
9/24/2013 | 5:55:28 PM
Re: Interactive how?
hmm tough question. It'd have to be a product I'm really interested in to want to see more info. Maybe a coupon or special offer, but that'd be hard to pull off. Would it show up in PIP? I think directing you somewhere on your tablet or phone makes a lot more sense.
albreznick
albreznick
9/24/2013 | 5:52:48 PM
Re: Interactive how?
Wise decision, Craig. :) You're both right, of course. Getting viewers engaged to click on their TV acreens is a huge challenge. Will be interesting to see how Ensequence tries to make it happen. And it'll be interesting to see how they can convince the skeptical ad community that this sort of thing can work. But they say they can.  We shall see. What would get you to click on an ad?
Sarah Thomas
Sarah Thomas
9/24/2013 | 5:39:54 PM
Re: Interactive how?
Isn't that what Cialis does -- get people to click? 

(Yeah, there are lots!)
craigleddy
craigleddy
9/24/2013 | 5:35:40 PM
Re: Interactive how?
The elderly? Maybe if they run interactive ads for Cialis that will get people to click. :)

Oh, there are lot of bad jokes in there. I'm not going to start.

 
Sarah Thomas
Sarah Thomas
9/24/2013 | 5:23:52 PM
Re: Interactive how?
Makes sense, Craig. I see the second screen as a much better platform for interaction than the TV itself. A lot of people are already doing both. 

Weirdly, I think the ad I saw with interactivity was something for elderly people...I can't remember what exactly, but seems like an add group to target with advanced features...
craigleddy
craigleddy
9/24/2013 | 5:21:47 PM
Re: Interactive how?
Sarah, you've hit upon one of the biggest challenges with this type of point-and-click advertising when it's tied to a TV spot. You've got to grab a viewer's attention and entice them to click within a very short window. It's a challenge for creative types. There can be ways to extend the conversation by telescoping to video-on-demand assets or using social media and second screens. But there's got to be a payoff for viewers to promote this kind of behavior.     
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