ACTV Gathers Partners for International Interactive TV Ads


Interactive TV company ACTV , and its Digital ADCO subsidiary, have joined forces with OpenTV and Motorola Broadband to
globally deploy its targeted interactive advertising service, which
segregates viewers and targets advertising according to spending power.


The “SpotOn” service will be available to digital cable, satellite, and
broadcast television providers through a newly-formed joint venture called
Digital ADCO International. SpotOn allows television viewers to choose and
interact with advertisements, and targets ads to the people thought to be
most likely to respond to them.


“The key to spending most effectively on advertising is to target people
who are most interested in a product,” said William Samuels, president and
chief executive officer of ACTV.


OpenTV has funneled an undisclosed investment into ACTV to assist the
company in integrating its back-end advertising software application into
OpenTV’s operating system. OpenTV said it has an installed base of more
than 7.8 million digital set-top boxes worldwide.


When ACTV created its Digital ADCO subsidiary in late 1999, with the help
of Motorola Broadband, the company said it intended to change traditional
television advertising using Motorola’s digital interactive platform.
Dealmakers said the new partnership should enable the subsidiary to launch
a bumped-up targeted advertising model that is based on demographic or
household specific-profiles.


“The ads will be permission based,” said Samuels. “We will show ads that
would most likely be of interest to the people who live in a specific area.
We can bring a bigger percentage to an advertiser by showing ads of
interest to viewers.”


As part of the arrangement with cable companies and the like, Samuels said
consumers will be able to swipe a credit card, place an order for some
products and have the item delivered to their home.


Samuels said his company’s main objective in partnering with OpenTV and
Motorola was too ensure his company’s technology was driven to market as
quickly and efficiently as possible.


“Forming strategic partnerships, like this one, will help to accelerate the
introduction of SpotOn to millions of people throughout the world,” said
Samuels. “We believe this relationship creates broad opportunities for the
future of digital interactive TV in general that may go beyond the realm of
advertising.”


The software promises to offer commerce opportunities like couponing and
permission based marketing initiatives. Among other things the software
enables viewers to choose television spots of interest to them and provides
for local advertising insertions that give advertisers tagging capabilities
for individual home boxes. For example, rather than show just one car
commercial the technology enables viewers to choose from several to view.
On the other hand, a person cannot choose to opt out of commercials altogether.


“You still have to switch out,” said Samuels.


So far OpenTV has worked with 28 television network operators in over 50
countries, including: British Sky Broadcasting in the United Kingdom; TPS
and Cable Lyonnaise in France; PrimaCom in Germany; Via Digital in Spain;
Galaxy Latin America, the exclusive provider of DirecTV in Latin America;
and EchoStar’s DISH Network in the U.S.


“OpenTV’s presence in eight million homes outside the U.S. brings people to
us in areas where we haven’t even commenced operations yet,” said Samuels.

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