Interactivity to be a new trend in TV ads

Just visualise a scenario: you are watching a cricket match on your television (TV) and at around 12 noon or at 8 PM in the evening a small text advertisement (known as blob) pops up in one corner of the screen asking you to click the green button on your remote if you are hungry.

If you do so, a new screen will open up on your TV giving information on rates and discounts for different types of pizzas being offered by a pizza outlet in your city along with contact details to place orders.

Or, when you are watching a movie on TV, a blob may prompt you access information on the movies being currently screened or new releases in a multiplex in your city. Welcome to the world of interactive advertisement that is expected to rewrite the rules of television commercials. As opposed to the traditional TV commercials, interactive ads will be non-intrusive and will open up only if the user wants. This is very similar to the ads we get on our computer screens when we browse a web page.

In the forefront of technology development for interactive ads is a Bangalore-based start-up company Lukup Media Pvt Ltd which was started in 2009 with an objective to make interactive content and applications accessible to people on TV and Mobile.
Founded by Kallol Borah, an young technology entrepreneur, Lukup Media has already developed a software platform named ‘Lukup’ that provides an end-to-end solutions to create interactive content and applications, schedule their delivery on televisions and mobile application stores, and deliver them to people.

Digitisation is the key

Lukup works on a digital medium as television signals are getting digitised in India very fast, pointed out Borah who is Director of Lukup Media. Of the total 140 million TV-homes in India, about 40 million get digital signal either from direct-to-home (DTH) operators like Tata Sky or Dish TV or from digitised cable operators like Hathway or DEN Networks.

A digital TV operator, like Tata Sky for example, sends video, audio and data signals to TV sets through a set top box that sits near a TV and works as an interface between the TV and the service operator. It also un-encrypts encrypted signal received from the satellite or from the cable. Lukup’s solution will use the data signal of the operator to push the blobs and the ad to the TV set, Borah pointed out.  

He also said that pushing interactive ads or contents for TV and mobile is possible on a variety of TV set top box and mobile devices. “Lukup is already being used by several media agencies, content producers and adopted by leading TV and mobile operators on a trial basis. The response is excellent as every one feels that the potential is huge,” Borah said. But before Lukup is commercially launched, the company will have to find answer to the crucial issue: who will get the revenue from interactive ads, service providers or broadcasters?

Though the service operator can claim that he should be the beneficiary as the content or the ad is being sent on its network, broadcaster can stake his claim as the ad will appear on his channel. Borah said that this is really a tricky issue and his sales team is working on an arrangement where all three Lukup, the broadcaster and the service operators will share the revenue. 

Another big advantage of interactive ads is that they can be tailor-made for and sent to the targeted viewers in terms of the cities, locations within a city and income and language groups. This would be possible because service operators have all the required data on their subscribers to slice them the way it is required. 

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