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Time Warner Launches Enhanced iTV Offering

14 Mar, 2012 By: Jackie Jones

NEW YORK – Time Warner Cable Media, the advertising sales division of Time Warner Cable, has launched Enhanced iTV, a new offering in its iTV suite that allows cable viewers to interact with targeted advertisements in more ways through their television sets, according to an official statement from the company.

The announcement comes on the heels of Canoe Ventures’ announcement that it was scaling back its interactive TV ad operations, closing its New York office to focus instead on video-on-demand and its TV Everywhere dynamic ad insertion offerings (Response This Week, Feb. 29, 2012). Time Warner Cable released its Enhanced iTV on Thursday to markets nationwide, including New York City; Charlotte, N.C.; and Cincinnati.

“iTV is a proven advertiser solution that is working for our clients right now,” said Joan Hogan Gillman, executive vice president of Time Warner Cable Inc. and president of Time Warner Cable Media. “We are thrilled to build on the existing success we’re having across multiple markets with Enhanced iTV, which will provide even better experiences for our advertisers and customers.”

Enhanced iTV allows brands to deliver a targeted message based upon the time of day, as well as reach specific demographically targeted audiences, according to Time Warner Cable. Companies that have already utilized the offering include Brownlee Jewelers and the Ohio Lottery.

While Canoe Ventures’ CEO said the shuttering of its interactive TV ad operations was “in line with Canoe’s founders’ original vision,” critics of interactive TV advertising have pointed to the company’s news as a sign of how undependable the platform is. While the idea of advertisements that consumers can immediately interact with sounds good on paper, marketers have had a harder time than expected navigating the new waters; while big-name advertisers are used to playing spots nationwide with limited buys, interactive ads use set-top boxes, and technology standards and polices vary among each cable and satellite company, according to an Advertising Age report.

“This really set ITV back and could even be the death of it,” Tracey Scheppach, executive vice president and innovations director at Publicis Groupe’s Vivaki/Starcom MediaVest, told Ad Age. “(Collaborating at Canoe) was the right idea, but not everyone was in the same boat rowing in the same direction. … Canoe was so focused on operations and programmers. This a serious wake-up call for operators. It will be much harder for (them) to handle interactive TV advertising on their own.”

Nearly a year ago, Forrester Research hinted at a “huge disconnect’ between consumers and marketers in the area of interactive measures (Response This Week, April 5, 2011). While more consumers expect information to translate across a variety of means and devices, marketers have fallen shorts at delivering at as quick of a pace as consumer behavior is changing, according to Forrester’s “The Future of Interactive Marketing” report. Conversely, the research giant also found that U.S. interactive marketing spending was expected to reach $76.6 billion by 2016, comprising about 35 percent of all advertising, according to the Forrester forecast (Response This Week, Aug. 30, 2011).

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