Cablevision to Launch Interactive TV Advertising Service, Optimum Select

New York-area MSO, Cablevision, on Wednesday announced the launch of a new interactive TV advertising service called Optimum Select. According to the company--which for some time now has offered interactive TV-enabled sponsored channels (customers for which include Disney, Mattel, the US Navy, and Bermuda Tourism--see, for example, the article published on, August 12th), and which has also launched an addressable advertising service, based on technologies from Visible World, to around 500,000 subscribers--the new service, which it says it will roll out early next month to its entire based of around 3 million iO TV digital cable customers, presents viewers with a "select button overlay" that appears at the bottom of the TV screen during a commercial and that invites them to press the "SEL" button on the remote control for more information on an advertised product. Once the viewer presses "SEL," Cablevision says, the current program is shifted to the top-right corner of the screen to allow continued viewing, and the viewer is then presented with several possible options, including receiving a free sample of, a coupon for, or additional information on the advertised product (note: Cablevision says that the choices will vary according to the needs of each campaign). Then, when the viewer presses "submit," Cablevision says, the sample, coupon or product information will be mailed to their home, using the address that corresponds with their account (note: according to an article in the New York Times, Cablevision will, at least at first, handle the mailing itself). "Optimum Select provides a unique opportunity for advertisers to put their brands in the hands of highly qualified and engaged consumers," David Kline, president of Rainbow Advertising Sales Corporation, the advertising sales arm of Cablevision and its content subsidiary, Rainbow Media, said in a prepared statement. "With Optimum Select, the 30-second spot is truly transformed into an extended brand engagement experience, with immediate ability to take action, a marketer's dream." Cablevision says that at least six major advertisers have signed up for Optimum Select, including Benjamin Moore, which plans to send free two-ounce paint samples to consumers who request them via the new service. The operator has not revealed how large of a premium over the price of a regular 30-second spot it is asking for Optimum Select-enabled spots.

Cablevision claims to have conducted extensive consumer research for the development of Optimum Select. According to the company, the research showed that consumers want more from their TV experience, but are skeptical about interactive TV "due to the fact that it has been discussed for many years but never truly realized." "The beauty of Optimum Select is that the consumer owns the interaction with the service and after just a few short steps consumers will receive coupons or free samples, mailed directly to their home," Gemma Toner, Cablevision's SVP of marketing and business development, said in a prepared statement. "This research informed our marketing strategy to roll out a sequenced introduction of Optimum Select's features to Cablevision's customer base to best achieve understanding of what Optimum Select has to offer and encourage participation. The service will launch with Optimum Select RFI, the Request for Information (RFI) feature of Optimum Select, and will roll out additional features over the next 12 months, as consumers become more familiar with the service, including the ability for consumers to save content and eventually make purchases, all at the press of a button."

According to Cablevision, the content saving feature, dubbed Optimum Select Content Saving and slated to roll out later this year, will allow viewers to save VOD content, such as a full-length movie trailer or a video of a Thanksgiving recipe, from a 30-second spot. It says that the saved content will be available to viewers immediately through a personal Optimum Select folder that will be accessed from the main iO TV menu "with the push of the iO button" and that will also be accessible online. In addition, Cablevision says it will next year launch an Optimum Select Commerce feature that will allow viewers to make purchases directly through the TV.

A video of a Cablevision promotional spot for Optimum Select is embedded above.

North America