Channel 4 leads trial to roll out internet-connected TV ads

Channel 4 is leading a UK field trial exploring the use of advertising opportunities on internet-connected TV devices that will give the industry insight into how broadcasters promote their programmes.

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The broadcaster, alongside Twentieth Century Fox, has partnered with digital entertainment company Rovi, to serve ads on HDTVs, Blu-ray players and other internet-connected devices in a drive that aims to increase viewing figures and engagement with their films and programmes.

Both TV companies will become two of the first broadcasters to place ads to promote their content on internet TV devices, such as the Samsung Smart TV range, which features a web browsing, a 3D on-demand service, search and a dedicated app store.

The broadcasters will be able to place ads on the devices’ main home screens, apps and on-demand services with a call-to-action for users to click and view full-screen trailers, microsites, or information on where to buy or view the programme.

The ads will appear as banners, similar to those on websites, and include other in-depth multimedia content, such as video, music or 3D imagery.

The trial will also be part of a research study, conducted by Decipher UK, to measure audience reach, retention, awareness and influence, which is intended to provide the TV industry with better understanding as to how consumers interact with internet connected devices.

Steve Forde, Channel 4’s head of digital marketing, says the company’s participation in the trial is part of its ongoing preparation for the connected TV world.

“Our aim is to embrace the opportunities presented by new platforms and stay ahead of the curve with our marketing strategies – the Smart TV Field Trial is a step towards exploring how to creatively show consumers what we have to offer as they access content through connected TV platforms and the all important EPG [electronic programming guide],” he says.

Earlier this year Channel 4 chief executive David Abraham said the broadcaster increased cash by £49.5m in 2010, which will be used to invest in “key strategic objectives” in the coming years, which will put it in a stronger position to “meet the challenges of the future”.

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