Raymond Snoddy on Media: C4 ad trial is bang on target

Raymond Snoddy
Raymond Snoddy

What more could advertisers ask for than a closed IPTV network with discrete addressable viewers?

The combination of two small companies PacketVision and Inuk is not something designed to get the blood racing. What sort of service could they be offering - a new telecommunications link for Eskimos, perhaps?

In fact, their project with Channel 4 deserves a little wider attention in the marketing community. For years people have been talking about fully addressable television so that the right person gets the correct ad, at a relevant time and in the appropriate mood.

The technology is already there. 'It's only a matter of commitment' has been the usual cry, although in reality surprisingly little has happened. People are always announcing they are about to deliver true addressability.

Fully addressable ads actually began transmitting during Hollyoaks on Channel 4 on 4 October, and more than 4000 spots have since been broadcast from 12 participating media agencies.

It may have the whiff of a big experiment, but it's wholly commercial. About 160,000 university students who subscribe to Inuk's Freewire IPTV service over broadband have access to free and pay-TV services both on TVs and laptops. It comes complete with PacketVision's 'managed advertising service' on the Channel 4 output.

For the students, there is the additional benefit of avoiding a licence-fee payment provided they download the programmes to a battery-operated laptop and watch them later.

The project claims to be the world's first large-scale addressable TV advertising project. As the audience is entirely students in halls of residence, advertisers already have their age profile. You can also target ads by gender and students' distance from home. So no more money wasted by playing female hygiene ads to hairy rugby players.

As it's a closed network the normal ad thresholds don't apply either, so condom ads in the afternoon are just fine. And as long as you don't get too carried away you could also be a bit more flexible with the booze ads.

Whether the development is good or bad news financially for broadcasters is less clear, but at least advertisers should only have to pay for what they get.
The proof will come either way when detailed research on student behaviour becomes available.

Inuk has plans to roll out nationwide, and PacketVision is already talking to AT&T in the US and looking to expand into other European countries, where IPTV networks are forging ahead rather faster than in the UK.

Barry Llewellyn, PacketVision's marketing chief, believes that in some countries, at least, IPTV could become the preferred method of distribution.
Following hard on the heels of the BBC launching online streaming of its two main channels to computers and mobiles, there has been a flurry of pre-Christmas online-TV activity.

Sky's launch of Sky Player TV, its first online-only subscription package, is a significant moment in the evolution of how we watch television. Sky says it will enable consumers to access pay-TV online without the need for a subscription to a TV-based service.

Why many people would want to do that, given the advance in the quality and size of TV displays is a conundrum, but clearly part of the market, at least, is heading in that direction and Sky is simply recognising that fact.

Just a little less significant was the announcement from ITV last week that it was rebranding its online catch-up TV service as ITV Player. Except that in the case of ITV's catch-up television deal with BT Vision, it will be branded ITV Net Player and referred to as the ITV Network Player.

It's enough to confuse an Eskimo.

Raymond Snoddy is a media journalist and presenter of the BBC's Newswatch

  • ITV is to rename its online catch-up TV service ITV Player to create a brand that will be instantly recognisable to consumers. The rebrand will be promoted with a high-profile on-air campaign across ITV's channels, which launches on 19 December.
  • The decision follows ITV's first deal, with BT Vision, to make its catch-up programming available online through a third party.
  • According to Ben McOwen Wilson, ITV's director of online, 'The new logo is part of our aim to create a recognisable and consistent brand for video-on-demand content across the web and TV.'
  • The new name and logo come 18 months after ITV spent £20m creating its online broadband TV service, which has been branded as the Catch Up section of the ITV.com website.
  • The average number of plays per month has increased by 3354% since it launched.
  • ITV.com hosts an average of 620 hours of catch-up content and 340 hours of archive material, as well as 50 hours of short clips.

Discussion

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now

Latest

O2 head of brand Shadi Halliwell departs after 23 years at company in restructure
Tesco hit by further sales decline as it turns to digital Clubcard and social network
Branding guru Wally Olins dies aged 83
Duracell short film captures epic Transatlantic voyage
Ash runs Tinder experiment to show smokers are less desirable to opposite sex
British Airways teams up with Gerry Cottle Jnr for summer of rooftop film screenings
Arklu says 'girls can be superheroes too' with doll design competition
Coke enters squash market with Oasis Mighty Drops
Virgin Galactic signs up Land Rover as space flight sponsor
Motorola marketer Andrew Morley departs as Google gears up for sale to Lenovo
US Airways apologises after tweeting obscene image at a customer
Mumsnet admits users' emails and passwords accessed via Heartbleed bug
Thetrainline.com backs 'rubbish' mobile app with TV ad
Powerade launches global World Cup campaign
Burberry's flagship Shanghai store facade responds to weather changes
Subway considers taking fast food to fast lane with F1 sponsorship
Ikea splurges 'grey' Belgium with colour
Grim outlook for Tesco boss Philip Clarke ahead of expected profits fall
Thomson to create first crowd-sourced wedding decided by Facebook fans
Currency wars meets origami in Alpari FX trading ad campaign
Amazon rumoured to launch 3D smartphone in September
Facebook to allow European users to store and transfer money on site, claims report
Unilever pilots multi-brand advertising with YouTube beauty channel
Lego, Coca-Cola, Net-a-Porter, Bitcoin and AOL: the digitally creative brands
Dove tries to tell women their beauty is innate through placebo patches
Wonga faces social media storm after forcing Twitter to remove satirical material
Spotify tells the stories of relationships with music
Skype contrasts real stories with 'saccharine' style of Google and Apple
Top 100 UK advertisers: BSkyB increases lead as P&G, BT and Unilever reduce adspend
Viral Review: One Direction perfume 'prankvert' should have been a bigger hit