Smartphone/Tablet Integrated Television Advertising Scheme Proposal

This scheme requires four main components. First, broadcasts with embedded tags to identify advertisements and product placement in television shows. Second, cable/satellite receivers able to read these tags and connect to a home WiFi network. Third, a smartphone/tablet app that will accept information from the receiver about the products and services being broadcast. Fourth, a reward-point system similar to those utilized by credit card companies and retailers.

People watch TV with their phones within reach or their tablets on their laps – they do, I’ve seen them do it, I’ve done it myself. They also have DVRs built in to their cable receivers that let them fast-forward through commercials. If they watch a live broadcast, their phones and tablets will distract them from the commercials anyway, so advertisers aren’t getting much more exposure than when the ads are skipped.

However, people will tolerate all sorts of crap for rewards, especially if they perceive those awards as monetary.

So give them an app to keep open on their phones or tablets that can offer them information about, and links to, products advertised or placed in shows. Offer them rewards for using this app. Just having it open nets a handful of points that can be redeemed for, say, a few bucks off your cable bill at the end of the month, or saved up and used for discounts on advertised products. Hell, advertisers can offer discounts on products purchased by consumers using the links in the app. Imagine that, immediate sales from the vendor or site of the advertiser’s choosing.

Cable/Satellite companies benefit by being able to collect better information about the success of advertising, and from being able to charge per-click for advertising – something they can’t yet do. It also means that advertising can essentially be constant, even during programs. No more having to awkwardly work in a little conversation about how great the new voice-activated GPS on a character’s Prius is – if there’s a Prius on screen, there’s an ad for that Prius happening in the viewer’s lap. If there’s a snappy outfit from Marshall’s on the sassy lady-detective, the viewer can purchase said outfit in any size directly from Marshall’s while watching the show.

And that level of product-placement integration is so much deeper than what’s currently available. It avoids the problem of how much product placement can be allowed in a show before the show becomes entirely people talking about their Prii and outfits. Absolutely anything on screen can be advertised to the viewer directly.

Yes, internet integrated televisions would allow for links to be followed on-screen, but people are much more likely to fiddle with the phone/tablet in their hands than to interrupt their viewing of a program to follow a link.

And viewers will use this system because the app will show them their point progress. They will use this system because they will feel like they are earning something, like they are being rewarded, and they enjoy that. Hell, they might even skip fast-forwarding through ads on their DVRs just so they can earn a few more points. Whatever they do, cable and satellite companies will know about it, and be able to charge accordingly for advertising. This is per-click, per-view pricing we’re talking about, on top of the normal fees.

Go wild with it! Include some games – like a Smurfville clone where instead of buying items from the Smurfville store, you earn those items by buying advertised products (that you’d buy anyway later) through the app.

The revenue potential more than makes up for any possible points-value a viewer could earn through the app – but they don’t need to know that. It’s a huge win-win! Everybody makes more money, and I get to watch Bones without having to hear Seeley and Brennan talk about how cool their fucking GPS system is.

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