Clickable TV Deal Brings Interactive TV to Atlanta Area

Interactive TV provider Backchannelmedia has inked a deal with Grey Television that will bring its Clickable TV service to 36 local broadcast stations and 7 million U.S. homes in the Atlanta, GA area.

Clickable TV allows advertisers to insert an icon into their television commercials that viewers can click to have a Web link e-mailed to them. The idea is to provide TV programmers with the kind of interactivity and per-click accountability that advertisers now receive from Web publishers.

“Let’s say you’re watching TV, and a Ford commercial comes on, and you want to take a test drive,” Dan Hassan, co-CEO of Backchannelmedia, said. “Ford can throw a link on the screen that you click, and a link is sent to your e-mail account.” Because the advertiser is providing the link, it would help the viewer purchase or get more information on the product being advertised “rather than having to go online and search for what you saw advertised on TV,” he explained.

The technology is compatible with most digital cable systems and doesn’t require consumers with digital service to secure new equipment.

Hassan says the technology can help broadcast companies keep pace in the digital era by competing with Google and other online publishers.

“TV platforms have traditionally delivered one main product, which is a 30-second impression-based spot, CPM- and eyeball-based,” he said. “Now there’s a second thing they can sell, which is a click-through [product] that can help them compete not only with Google but with direct mail and direct marketing.”

Clickable TV was launched on a handful of New England stations in May 2008, though Boston-based Backchannelmedia was launched in 2000. The deal with Gray television means the service will now be available on 68 television stations reaching approximately 17 percent of U.S. households. The company is hoping to expand aggressively in 2009.

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