Mainstream TV takes on DS ad format

April 16, 2008 by Dave Haynes

One of the concerns I have had around some digital screen networks  is using an ad format that is utterly foreign to media planners and content producers — notably the “L” or reverse “L” format that has a strip along the bottom and side of a screen.

I’ve see a few companies doing this, often when they are using “squeezing” technology that takes a broadcast signal and squeezes it towards a corner to open up ad space on two sides.

So it was interesting to read on MediaPost this morning how a mainstream broadcaster, US-based Bravo, is taking on that format to add interactivity capability as well as get ads on the screen during the programming, somewhat neutering the who DVR-commercial skipping thing that is worrying networks and their advertisers.

Chrysler will be the first marketer to take advantage of Bravo’s new “L-Bar” opportunity, where an advertiser can use the “L-shaped” real estate created as the on-screen action shrinks into the upper right.

The “L-bar” debuts June 12 during Bravo’s first “A-List Awards,” which the network says honors creative standouts in fields such as design, fashion and food. How Chrysler will use the technology during the show is still being determined.

Bravo devised the “L-bar” as a way to promote viewer interaction with advertiser initiatives. For example, as the series “Top Chef” continues and the screen shrinks by 20% to open up the “L,” a marketer could ask a trivia question. Viewers could then text in an answer, or do so at a Web site, with the chance to enter a sweepstakes.

The positive side is this sort of thing may get the industry more accustomed to the ad format. However, my gut tells me this is an experiment that may not get much beyond the lab.  Will viewers who gleefully  zip through commercials be happy to see their shows squeezed into a frame and ads on the screen much or all of the time?

Kinda doubt it.

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