Interactive TV News Round-Up (IV): Rovi, 20th Century Fox, Channel 4, OMD, BMO, Hulu, Syfy

--Rovi Teams with 20th Century Fox, Channel 4, OMD for UK Connected-TV Advertising Trial
--Rovi also Launches Canadian Connected-TV Ad Trial, Shares Results of US Trial, Sues Hulu
--Syfy to Extend "Haven" Storyline via Twitter

Because the [itvt] editorial team has been on the road the past few weeks, we are covering stories in this issue in round-up/summary format. We anticipate that it will take us several days to catch up with all the recent news: so if your company has sent us a press release or briefed us on an announcement, and you don't yet see your news covered in this issue, please bear with us.

  • Rovi announced earlier this week that Twentieth Century Fox, Channel 4 and OMD UK will be the first to participate in its "Rovi Smart TV Advertising Field Trial" in the UK. "Recognizing the importance of connected TV as a future advertising platform, OMD UK will be working alongside Rovi to support campaigns for Channel 4 and help them gain valuable learning in this new space," Rovi states in its press materials. "The UK extension of [the] Rovi Smart TV Field Trial follows US and Canadian field trials launched earlier this year. Early results, collected by 24/7 Real Media, Inc., from the US field trial report that the campaigns delivered millions of impressions per month for participating brands...The Smart TV Field Trial research will be conducted by Decipher, one of UK's leading media strategy and research companies. The results will measure audience reach, retention, awareness and influence and are expected to provide the industry with a better understanding of how consumers are engaging with advertising on Internet-connected devices...[The] Rovi UK Smart Field Trial will include Samsung Smart TV's and Blu-ray players, available now in the UK and other countries in Europe. According to Rovi internal estimates, the Rovi Advertising Network is one of the largest interactive TV advertising footprints on the market today reaching more than 40 million households globally on an ever-widening array of platforms. Rovi deploys, manages, and evaluates the advertising campaigns across next-generation devices from leading manufacturers." Said Rovi's SVP of worldwide advertising, Jeff Siegel: "The last couple of years have seen the introduction of multiple new entertainment platforms, leading to greater opportunities for advertising in the home. As industry leaders, Twentieth Century Fox, Channel 4 and OMD have taken an innovative approach in exploring how to market their content to consumers. We're looking at how we can help them continue to succeed in increasing viewership."
  • In other Rovi news: 1) The company last week announced the Canadian launch of the Rovi Smart TV Advertising Field Trial program. "As part of the Field Trial introduction, Rovi will work with BMO Bank of Montreal to deploy, manage, and evaluate BMO campaigns across next-generation devices from leading manufacturers and enable the company to engage the rapidly expanding base of consumers that is accessing entertainment via a broadband connection," the company states in its press materials...The initial BMO Bank of Montreal Smart TV Field Trial campaign focuses on BMO SmartSteps for Parents, an online, interactive program to help parents educate children on money management. Interactive banners on 'Home Screens' or within Rovi-powered entertainment guides on a connected device are designed to build awareness for the ongoing BMO SmartSteps for Parents program and act as an entry point to a dedicated BMO microsite featuring age-relevant articles, videos and expert blogs designed to help parents teach their children the value of money...The Smart TV Field Trial Advertising program is based on the production, delivery, and measurement of campaigns on connected devices and represents a subset of the reach of the Rovi Advertising Network. In addition to a large, worldwide connected-device footprint, the Rovi Advertising Network extends campaigns to cable set-top boxes and entertainment-based Web portals. The Rovi Ad Network represents one of the largest interactive TV advertising footprints on the market today reaching more than 40 million households globally through ad delivery on Rovi guides--a 'home page' that connects consumers to great entertainment from an ever widening array of sources." 2) The company also said last week that the US version of its Smart TV Field Trial, which was announced in April, is "delivering millions of impressions per month for participating brands," with overall advertising impressions growing 41% month to month in June and ads now garnering consumer interaction rates of 13% (according to tracking reports from 24/7 Real Media). 2) During the company's Q2 earnings conference call, CEO Fred Amoroso stated that cable subscribers are spending over 15 minutes per day using its EPG's, and are accessing those EPG's 10 times daily. Fierce Cable's Steve Donohue has more. 3) The company last month filed suit against Hulu in the US District Court for the District of Delaware, claiming that the broadband TV service is infringing on its EPG patents. Multichannel News's Todd Spangler has more.
  • Syfy has announced that its supernatural drama series, "Haven," will be "the first television series to create a storyline that flows between the show itself and the micro-blogging service Twitter when it launches a special seven-episode arc beginning Friday, August 12...In the story, Vince (Richard Donat) and Dave (John Dunsworth), who run the newspaper in Haven, join Twitter as newcomers to the medium," Syfy explains in its press materials. "Viewers who follow their characters (@VinceHaven, @DaveHaven) will see them interact with a mysterious Twitter user (@ColdInHaven) who knows more about Haven--and Vince and Dave--than anyone should...As the special plot unfolds on Twitter, viewers will catch glimpses of it in the show itself, where they'll be directed to follow the Twitter conversation through special promos. The outcome to the Twitter story will be revealed in the second-season finale on Friday, September 30...Viewers can follow the story on Twitter with the hashtag #HavenNews as well as on Syfy and Twitter will be working together during the seven-week event to measure viewer engagement around the 'Haven' Twitter storyline. The findings will be shared in an online case study, with best practices for any network to use when integrating Twitter directly into a storyline." Said SyFy digital general manager, Craig Engler: "The 'Haven' writers and producers have done an amazing job of crafting a storyline that seamlessly moves between the TV show and Twitter. Although there have been simple integrations before, no one has fully and organically integrated Twitter into the fabric of the show in the way 'Haven' is doing. If you watch 'Haven' and use Twitter, you're in for a real treat." Added 'Haven' executive producer, Lloyd Segan: "Although Twitter has been featured in TV shows before, this is the first time a storyline from a television series has been fully integrated with the popular online service. The story has been created in such a way that viewers who don't follow the Twitter plot can still enjoy the show. For those that do, there will be a special meaning to events in 'Haven' during these seven episodes."

North America