“Video on Demand has real potential to revolutionise advertising and this is one revolution that is very definitely being televised,” said Fru Hazlitt, the managing director of commercial and online for the UK’s biggest commercial broadcaster ITV Hazlitt to the Forum audience at the session Changing the Advertising Paradigm – one of many illuminating sessions to take place during last week’s IBC, writes Kate Bulkley.
Waving a polystyrene red brick, Hazlitt said that consumers have much more power now to make their opinions known – beyond the old days of throwing a brick at the TV if they were unhappy – and that this new viewer power is something broadcasters need to capitalise on, not ignore. “It’s about taking the power of the traditional (television viewing audience) and combining it with the power of the new,” she said.
Having the television programme work hand-in-hand with clever second-screen, interactive applications to bring in more and new revenues for broadcasters is the way forward. For example, last month ITV launched a new-style advertisement for shopping catalogue company Argos where the TV audience was asked to identify in the Argos catalogue where a wristwatch like the one just saw gifted to Alan Taylor, a character in the popular ITV show Emmerdale, was in the 2,000-page catalogue and if they guessed correctly they were included in a 10,000 pound draw. The “call to action” attracted 40,000 responses in the first 24 hours. “That’s what I call interaction and that is really powerful,” said Hazlitt. “And it doesn’t mean you forget the TV ad but you use it in a different way.”
Other broadcasters are also taking advantage of the new, dual-screen technologies. NBC Universal has worked with audio recognition company Shazam, which has its application downloaded to 150 million mobile phones, to offer viewers exclusive content for shows like Glee. But Evan Krauss, executive vice president advertising sales at Shazam, admitted that offering behind the scenes footage is “a bit lame because not everyone is interested in it and there are a lot more interesting deals to be done”. He lamented that a lot of TV networks are “slow and uncreative”, and that “most advertisers won’t give more money to these kinds of applications”.