Canoe Publishes ExpandTV Guidelines

-- Interactive TV Consortium Wants Networks to Encourage Viewers to 'Press OK' to Interact

Canoe Ventures released a set of guidelines for the cable industry's ExpandTV brand that it hopes cable programmers will use to add interactivity to TV shows. If the cable industry's interactive TV consortium succeeds with its new brand, cable subscribers will press the OK or select button on their remote controls when prompted by interactive overlays containing the ExpandTV logo. 

According to the guidelines that Canoe published on ExpandTV.com, networks can use ExpandTV for programs that use voting and polling, along with t-commerce ads and RFI (request for more information) ads. Canoe had originally planned to use SelecTV as the brand that would prompt subscribers that the content they are viewing has interactive capabilities. 

The guidelines include recommendations for language that should be used in interactive programming and ads. Canoe suggests that programmers use terms such as "interact now," and that subscribers should be prompted to press the OK on their remote controls instead of the select button when possible. "When referencing the remote control buttons the term 'OK' is preferred over 'Select," however it will be based on the service provider and/ or the set-top box. If the remote control has both 'OK/Select,' using both may increase viewer interactions," Canoe wrote in the guidelines. It developed the guidelines with CableLabs and cable marketing association CTAM. 

The guidelines detail several different sizes and colors for Expand TV interactive overlays, in addition instructions for placing the ExpandTV overlays in several different locations on a TV screen, including placement on the lower third of the screen and placement of an overlay that can run across the entire top of the screen. Canoe offers instructions for the sequence in which ExpandTV overlays should be added to programming. For example, once a viewer tunes to a network, an ExpandTV promo shouldn't appear until after a channel banner is displayed and the channel banner disappears.  

Canoe didn't name any programmers that plan to use ExpandTV overlays, but it included an example from a Showtime Sports interactive application as an example of how ExpandTV has been used. Look for Canoe programming partners to be the first cable networks to use ExpandTV in their content, including Discovery Communications, Versus and other networks owned by Comcast. 

While Canoe is also recommending ExpandTV as a brand that can be used for interactive advertising, the guidelines it announced Monday only cover in-program applications. It said it will address interactive advertising in a future release. More

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