Interactive TV News Round-Up (V): Rovi, BT, Red Bull, Honda, Ladbrokes, Mini, Decipher, Pace

--BT, Red Bull TV, Honda, Ladbrokes Join Rovi's Smart TV Advertising Program
--Rovi Launches Smart TV Advertising Program in Germany, Releases UK Smart TV Ad Study Findings
--Rovi, Pace Team to Develop Hybrid IP Solution for TV Service Providers

Because the [itvt] editorial team has a backlog of news to cover following TVOT NYC Intensive 2011 and our post-event vacation, 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 last month that BT, Red Bull TV, Honda and Ladbrokes will develop interactive TV campaigns for its Rovi Advertising Network as part of its Rovi Smart TV Advertising program. According to the company, the Smart TV program (which also sees the participation of UK terrestrial broadcaster, Channel 4) "was created to study how to effectively reach consumers via the growing number of Internet-connected devices in consumers' homes. Using Rovi's advanced advertising technologies," the company's press materials continue, "companies are able to deploy capabilities like in-depth multimedia graphics and video as part of their advertising campaigns that run on high-definition televisions, Blu-ray Disc players, and other Internet-connected devices...The Rovi UK Smart TV program includes Samsung Smart TV's and Blu-ray Players available now in the UK and other countries in Europe. Rovi is also collaborating with Decipher [see below], one of the UK's leading media strategy and research companies, to conduct a two-phase Smart TV study. Audience reach, retention, awareness, and influence are being measured, and the research is expected to provide the industry with a better understanding of how consumers engage with advertising on connected devices...Via the Smart TV interface, companies are able to promote their brands in a new, interactive way, directly into the family living room. According to the newly released results of Phase One of the Rovi Smart TV UK study, 84 percent of the study respondents use the Samsung Smart Hub content portal, and for the majority of respondents it is used by other household members as well...The UK extension of the Rovi Smart TV Advertising program follows US and Canadian programs that launched earlier this year. Rovi also conducted a two-phase Smart TV study in the US and recently released the Phase One and Phase Two findings, which showed that 80 percent of respondents noticed the presence of ads on the connected-TV platform, and approximately a third of those who noticed an ad also clicked on it...Currently, Rovi's advertising services, products and technologies together reach more than 40 million households globally. The Rovi Advertising Network targets advertisers, agencies and brand marketers, providing highly measurable and interactive TV advertising options designed to reach an engaged consumer audience that is actively seeking live, recorded, on-demand, cable or network programming. The Rovi Advertising Network enables advertisers to make a consolidated media buy across multiple interactive TV platforms, including Internet-connected devices--set-top boxes (STB's), TV's and Blu-ray Disc players, media players, game consoles and other devices--and leading service providers. Used by leading brands from a variety of industries including Carnival, Channel 4, and Bank of Montreal, the Rovi Advertising Network enables marketers to reach millions of TV viewers across the many platforms that comprise the TV entertainment experience today."
  • In related news: 1) Rovi said last month that automaker, Mini, and the latter's agency, Mediaplus, are participating in the German launch of the Rovi Smart TV Advertising program. "In our opinion, Mini and Mediaplus are leading the charge in Germany to explore connected devices as another avenue for enhancing engagement and interaction with potential and current customers," Jeff Siegel, Rovi's SVP of worldwide advertising, said in a prepared statement. "We believe Rovi removes the mystique around Smart TV and gives advertisers and agencies a simple, straightforward way to take advantage of advanced advertising technologies and become pioneers on a new platform." Added Mediaplus's head of digital, Jens Hofmann: "We firmly believe that connected, convergent TV will play a major role in the near future of television and branded entertainment. Therefore we are very happy that the Rovi Smart TV program enables us to gather valuable insights for our clients about the acceptance of advertising and the usability of content in this exciting new environment. Additionally, the Rovi advertising program allows us to utilize the Smart TV platform in an efficient yet comprehensive way." 2) The company and its partner, UK media strategy and research firm, Decipher, recently released the initial results of a two-phase study of connected-TV usage and interactive advertising in the UK. "The first phase examined connected device familiarity and usage, creating a profile of the connected-TV audience and comparing it to the average UK household," Rovi explains in its press materials. "The second part of the study will assess the effectiveness of a range of specific interactive campaigns on the platform and is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2012. Decipher conducted the Smart TV research among more than 500 households that are part of the Rovi UK Smart TV Field Trial Advertising program. The UK study is tailored to the region's unique needs and ecosystem, yet it also is a key component of Rovi's broader international research into Smart TV usage. Rovi is running Smart TV Field Trial Advertising programs in Canada and Germany as well, and has already conducted similar research in the US. Rovi recently released the Phase One and Phase Two results of the US Smart TV field study, which showed that 80 percent of respondents noticed the presence of ads on the connected-TV platform, and approximately a third of those who noticed an ad also clicked on it...The UK Field Trial includes Samsung Smart TV's and Blu-ray players with the 'Smart Hub' content portal, available now in the UK and other countries in Europe. Twentieth Century Fox and Channel 4, along with OMD, the media agency for Channel 4, were the first companies to join the Rovi Smart TV Field Trial in the United Kingdom." Key findings of the study, according to Rovi and Decipher, include the following: "a) 84% of study respondents are connecting their Samsung Smart TV and Blu-ray players and are regularly using the Samsung 'Smart Hub' content portal to access IP-delivered content via applications such as BBC iPlayer and Lovefilm. b) 85% of those planning to buy a HDTV or Blu-ray player are more interested in the device because of the Smart Hub feature. c) Usage of Smart Hub stimulates TV viewing, as 49% claim it makes them 'watch more TV.' d) The primary reasons given for using the Smart Hub are the convenience of doing multiple tasks on a single screen and accessing on-demand content. e) 58% of study respondents use fewer devices to access the Internet because they can now access applications on their TV. f) Owners of connected Samsung TV/Blu-ray players are primarily young, affluent males. g) Connected-TV users are super-consumers of media content and own a lot of gadgets (7x more likely to own a tablet than the national average). h) 63% of respondents are Sky subscribers. i) Device users like advertising that helps them learn about new products and services available. j) Connected users who claim to 'always' use the Smart Hub are young, busy professionals. The majority of them have pay-TV, and 1 in 4 have superfast broadband of at least 50 MB or more. k) They are heavy media consumers of both linear and on-demand content via the Smart Hub."
  • In other Rovi news: The company announced last month that it is working with Pace to develop an integrated hybrid IP solution. "The new solution, targeted to be available in the USA, Canada, and Latin America, will be designed to help service providers develop and deliver new, advanced subscriber services that allow them to differentiate themselves in the marketplace," Rovi states in its press materials. "Pace and Rovi expect to design the joint solution to utilize Pace's hybrid video gateway platforms, and to feature a new Rovi TotalGuide search and discovery platform based on a customizable application and service framework. The joint solution is expected to use standard Web technologies like HTML5 and be powered by Rovi Cloud Services. The solution will be designed to integrate easily with the existing cable ecosystem in the Americas. As both Rovi and Pace technologies are already widely deployed in the pay-TV industry, the new solution is expected to build on their existing infrastructures, accelerating service providers' time-to-market and the speed at which they can transition to cloud-based services...The combined solution will be designed with the goal of giving service providers control over how and when they innovate and develop their cloud-based services. It is expected to incorporate Pace's advanced hybrid video gateway devices, which offer service providers unparalleled performance, reliability and flexibility for delivering next-generation broadcast and IP entertainment services. Working with the Pace gateways and middleware, the Rovi TotalGuide experience is expected to be entirely rendered in an embedded browser. Such an implementation could enable fast customization and service additions, as well as delivering a consistent experience across multiple devices, from TV's to smartphones and tablets."
North America