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Advertising is the life blood of the TV industry.

13 June 2012
Advertising is the life blood of the TV industry.

Advertising tends to polarise people, with many claiming never to watch it, but then being able to hum the latest jingle, join in the latest catchphrase, or keep up with the latest campaigns. Many people claim to get annoyed with adverts when they are associated with “free” TV. Of course in reality it isn’t free, it is paid for by the adverts, which are in turn paid for by the viewer buying the latest shiny gadget, or soap powder or whatever. The fact that the goods everyone buys contain a cost of this advertising doesn’t compute with many, and they still see the adverts as spoiling their “free” service. In some cases adverts can become part of the event itself, such as the hype surrounding Super Bowl adverts. These adverts are now launched or teased ahead of the super bowl in multi-million dollar campaigns.

Recently Dish TV in the US has come under fire for offering their new Hop DVR. This DVR has many features designed to make Dish TV’s offering more compelling to the viewer, but the one which has caught the most attention recently, and indeed lawsuits, is the ability to automatically skip adverts. This feature only works on recorded content (obviously) and further only on content which is more than 24 hours old. Most viewers of recorded content tend to fast forward through the adverts anyway, but having a DVR do this automatically is viewed by the broadcast industry to be a step too far.

Another area where adverts support free services is in the field of catch-up TV and Video on Demand (VoD). Most of the catch-up services (apart for BBC iPlayer in the UK) rely on adverts, and these adverts cannot be skipped, or have restrictions on when you can skip or fast forward. These adverts, especially on portable devices, are being seen as more and more valuable for a number of reasons. One of the key reasons is the presence of captive eyeballs (the viewer has requested the content, so it’s not likely to be background content which the TV could be). Second to this is the demographic of the users who are accessing content (again especially on smartphones / tablets). 

As these adverts are being seen as more valuable, there is a desire to maximise their impact, by either targeting them at specific users, or having adverts which can be inserted / replaced as required. For example, there may be an advert related to the Olympic  Games, where a soap powder is being sold as giving you whiter clothes so of course you can run faster. After the Olympic Games are over, the soap powder manufacturer no longer wants to use this advert and reverts to a different campaign. If the viewer is watching a VoD event then in order to maximise the impact of the adverts, they should be changeable.

Motive has recently received a patent around this kind of technology, allowing adverts to be sent using its TV Anytime technology, separate to the VoD event. Then, when the VoD event is watched (either on the TV or connected smartphone / tablet using TV Anywhere) the relevant advert can be selected. New adverts can be downloaded in the background along with the VoD titles, and with the required rules (do not use until this date, do not use after this date etc, use with any content, do not use unless 15 certificate content, etc). 

Adverts are here to stay, as is the desire to consume content as and when the customer wants. Motive offers solutions to ensure that the advertising experience is relevant to the time the customer wants to see it, or even the device the customer wants to watch it on. 


Dr Glenn Craib
Vice President Products & Services