The National Basketball Association this week will become the first professional sports league to market itself through TiVo’s interactive ad platform as it urges viewers to record — and hopefully watch — the finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Orlando Magic.
TiVo subscribers will be greeted with a link on the TiVo homepage taking them to a branded environment featuring NBA videos, graphics, and footage from past finals. The page will also provide a link for viewers to record every game of the finals with a single click.
Because the link will appear on the TiVo homepage, which appears when viewers click to access their recorded programs, the NBA is virtually guaranteed exposure to nearly all TiVo subscribers, said Tara Maitra, GM and VP of content services and advertising sales at TiVo.
“That page is seen on average 4.5 times a day by our full footprint,” she said.
Links to the NBA page will also appear when users pause, delete or come to the end of certain recorded programs. TiVo declined to say which programs would carry the NBA branding, though it would presumably appear on other sports shows and male-oriented programming.
Among the advertisers that have used TiVo’s interactive platform so far are the Discover Channel, The Disney Channel, Merceds and Symbicort, an asthma medication from AstraZeneca.
Maintra said TiVo will provide the NBA with a range of metrics that include how many viewers entered the branded environment, how many times the videos were played, how often videos were fast-forwarded or rewound and how many viewers use the one-click option to record all the finals games. “Basically everything you might want to track,” she said.
As one of the pioneers of DVR technology — it introduced its product in 1997 — TiVo is best known for helping viewers avoid advertising. But in recent years, as cable companies have chipped away at TiVo’s business by offering their own, often cheaper DVR services, the company has courted the advertising community by creating new ways for them to reach its subscribers.
As with the NBA promos, the idea is to integrate the advertising without interrupting the viewer’s experience, Maintra explained
“Part of why interactive TV advertising has failed is it took the viewer away from what they were there do to in the first place, which is watch a program,” she said. “What’s great about the TiVo program is it’s designed not to interrupt the viewing experience and catches the viewer at a time when they might be interested in watching something new.”
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