Report: Interactive TV Soon to Become Direct Marketing Tool

As the broadband rollout propels the maturation of interactive television, targeted advertising and TV-based commerce will emerge as important new direct marketing applications — at least, that’s the future envisioned in a report by the New York-based Winterberry Group.

According to Winterberry, a direct marketing industry research and consulting firm, direct marketers increasingly will harness the interactive addressability of the interactive TV medium by developing detailed viewer profiles, enabling one-to-one targeting of interactive offers at the household level.

Immediate personalized viewer feedback, enabling real-time refinement of interactive advertising campaigns will also emerge, as will impulse buying based on interactive TV offers and ads.

“The potential reach of iTV direct marketing is virtually unparalleled,” said Winterberry chief executive Michael Petsky. “Direct marketers that take a proactive stance now will ensure that they’ve integrated iTV into their multi-channel strategies by the time deployments take off over the next five years.”

Winterberry, which said it studied and analyzed best practices and strategies of Internet and traditional direct marketing firms, also said it sees more B2C direct marketers exploring partnerships with interactive TV content producers and e-commerce firms. Such arrangements would allow the marketers to capitalize on consumer familiarity with home shopping by developing interactive TV marketing campaigns as a complement to their existing integrated direct marketing efforts.

The report’s authors also said they anticipate third-party fulfillment firms partnering with providers of TV back-end software solutions, while database analytic and user-profiling technology companies will explore partnerships with providers of user-profiling applications for use with interactive TV.

“As rising levels of domestic broadband access drive ‘iTV’ deployments, well-capitalized direct marketers — particularly B2C catalogers, [direct-response TV] companies and providers of third-party fulfillment services — will benefit from strategic partnerships with ‘iTV’ companies,” Petsky said.

The report comes none too soon, as alliances and partnerships already are being struck in the emerging interactive TV space. Several of those have been by Alley-based interactive TV content firm ACTV, which has been inking deals to broaden its interactive television commerce and advertising capabilities, and its potential client roster.

In November, ACTV’s subsidiary Digital ADCO recently announced a deal with AT&T Broadband to roll out its SpotOn targeted enhanced TV ads for a pilot program in Aurora, Colorado.

ACTV more recently inked a cross-selling agreement with New York-based Cylo, a Web and TV content production house, gaining access to clients like Ford, American Express and AT&T — all of which use Cylo for TV ad campaign production.

Cylo has deals with additional interactive TV firms as well, including e-commerce technology firm Cybuy, cable technology provider Pegasus Systems, and other players.

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