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|Founded||Tel Aviv, Israel|
|Headquarters||Tel Aviv, Israel|
The company was formed to address a major change in the way viewers consume television broadcasts. This began with the development of the Personal Video Recorder (PVR), sometimes called a Digital Video Recorder (DVR). More recently, the main television set and other devices can now be connected to the internet as well as receiving TV broadcasts. Both have a disruptive impact on the effectiveness of the traditional television advertising break.
When US broadcasters NBC and CBS first pioneered the idea of funding channels with television advertising in the 1940s, it marked the start of a highly influential – and profitable – new advertising medium that ultimately spread right across the globe.
Despite concerns among the great and the good that ad breaks would trivialise the hitherto formal and authoritative tone of broadcasting in Europe, notably with Sir Winston Churchill voicing fears that it would be a “peep-show”, Scottish Television boss Roy Thomson famously went on to describe the awarding of an independent television (ITV) franchise as ‘a licence to print money’.
Today the revenue prognosis for ads-supported linear television looks very different, as the biggest shift in media consumption patterns in the history of television takes hold – a migration to online viewing, poised to accelerate rapidly as the number of connected screens increases. According to Kurt Scherf, Vice President & Principal Analyst at Parks Associates, 23% of all HDTV receivers sold in 2010 were capable of being connected to the internet, and this figure is set to rise to 76% in 2015.
It’s not just TV sets either – an army of internet-connectable Blu-ray disc players, game consoles and digital video players are joining the battle for eyeballs in the biggest confrontation to the media status quo since the invention of television itself.
Several internet assisted or delivered programme services are either at or near deployment in the US and Europe, including the much-vaunted YouView service (formerly ‘Project Canvass’) backed by all of the UK’s terrestrial broadcasters plus major telecoms and infrastructure partners slated for launch early in 2012.
Scherf also predicts that transactional revenues from online video consumed via connected TV devices will grow to some US$8bn by 2015. All of which presents a clear and present danger to the revenue printing press of conventional TV, because viewers can simply skip the ads.
Research suggests that the current methods employed to combat this problem are either ineffective or actually have a negative impact on media consumption. One of these is to insert a sequence of advertising (‘pre-roll’) at the start of each piece of on-demand content selected by the consumer, typically with fast forward disabled to prevent skipping.
However viewers tend to take evasive action to miss the ads – and even if they didn’t, no pre-roll can compete with the 15-20 ads typically contained within each hour of linear TV. justAd.TV research indicates that some 86% of adverts shown within on-demand content are skipped.
Another is to give up on advertising altogether, and charge for content instead – but this is likely to reduce consumption by viewers, who may turn to piracy to get what they want. Clearly both approaches are likely to deprive the service operator from ad revenue, viewers, or both. Ironically, from an advertising point of view, online viewers are arguably the most measurable and targetable consumers in the media universe.
Rather than lamenting the disruptive technology of the internet, non-linear advertising adapts some of its most compelling attributes  to enable TV service providers to tackle two of the biggest problems facing the industry – to monetize content located in VoD libraries, and compensate for PVR ad-skipping.
This requires a dramatically different approach to interactive advertising, starting with the acceptance that if consumers have selected PVR or network Video on Demand (VoD) content to escape the tyranny of broadcast schedules, they will naturally want to use the pause, fast forward, rewind and other navigational controls available to them.
With the introduction of new technologies such as justAd.TV’s embedAds solution, the seemingly negative action of ad-skipping can be transformed into a positive advertising opportunity , as interactive banner-style ads can be presented during user interventions such as fast-forward.
Freedom to skip ads
The key starting point was to respect consumers’ wishes to skip advertising in non-linear content or banner messages of no interest. This is analogous to a web surfer closing a dialog box, but using a designated button on the remote control instead of a mouse.
Perhaps surprisingly, justAd.TV has found that only 4% of viewers reject or skip these messages, but only if the format is right. A key factor is the size of the ad right in proportion to the content, which is usually re-sized in a window alongside. For example during fast forward or rewind, only a small part of the screen should be taken up by the ad, as users want to keep an eye on whereabouts they are in the programme – if the ad is too big, the cancelation rate can be up to four times higher. A well-designed non-linear ad campaign to promote VoD movies that are available from the service operator will typically yield a take-up rate of about 15%.
The system comprises thin client Virtual Machine software that operates within a digital STB, plus a TV advert server at the headend. The backend system handling the creation of the ads, formats and the scheduling of campaigns is cloud based to minimise the need for additional hardware. The technology also gives advertisers the opportunity to flag up a landing page that may be accessed from the remote handset, but the viewer remains in control at all times.
According to Giorgio Tacchia, Head of TV at Italian cable and IPTV operator Fastweb which became the first customer of the justAd.tv on-demand advertising system in Summer 2010 , it is important to show adverts that match fast-forward play and pause slots respectively.
Fastweb found that while fast-forward defines a fairly precise time slot of on average 12 seconds, the pause time is more variable depending on what the consumer is doing during the interval. The average duration is a much longer period of about two minutes, which provides the opportunity for a more substantial advert. Initially the company would play an advert with a purchase option during a fast-forward operation, which would take far longer than that average of 12 second to execute.
Subsequent feedback suggested these adverts were aborted more often than others requiring no response from the viewer. However by transferring the advert to a pause action, the percentage of participating viewers increased substantially.
At the MIPTV industry event at Cannes, justAd.TV launched what is claimed to be the worlds’ first multi-device TV advertising platform, with a new software development kit (SDK) that is compatible with most leading connected TV devices.
No integration costs are incurred as the SDK allows ads to be displayed on multiple devices, and Red Button and other ad triggers have been incorporated in addition to pause, fast forward and stop.
justAd.TV is also making sample applications available for each connected device. Once registered to the justAd.TV website, content and platform owners can download a chosen application for a Samsung TV for example, and view the company’s new advertising formats on their TV without the need for additional research and development.
- justAd TV to Unveil Technology that Lets Operators Run Internet Style Ads on Non-linear TV, ITVT 01/09/2010
- justAd.TV Heads to IBC, Light Reading 01/09/2010
- justAd.TV to unveil on-demand advertising system, Digital TV Europe 03/09/2010
- Israel displays the latest broadcast technologies at IBC Expo in Amsterdam, Telecomkh.com 09/09/2010
- justAd.TV launches nonlinear ad system, IBC Daily 11/09/2010
- Phew – another IBC, another whirlwind of shiny new stuff, Freeband TV News 14/09/2010