website hit counter Media Center Gets First Taste of Interactive Advertising - Chris Lanier

Media Center Gets First Taste of Interactive Advertising

Interactive advertising is something that I’ve always imagined would come to Media Center and frankly I’m amazed that it has taken so long.  There have been a few examples in the past, but nothing major.  This is changing however with Media Center getting its first taste of interactive advertising via the Internet TV plug-in  Amazingly, I want to congratulate Microsoft for getting it right.

Internet TV is a US only plug-in that is supported by 15-second or so video advertising prior to the featured video starting.  This has worked nicely and over the past few months Microsoft has gained more and more advertising partners.  They have now taken the next step, adding interactive features to those ads.  Best of all, it works perfectly without being intrusive!

Basically what happens is a small “Learn more” button is displayed in the lower left hand corner of the video ad.  It displays for 15-seconds with a small countdown timer just below. If you select the button you will be taken to a nicely design product page for more directly within Media Center.  These product pages feature additional videos, more information about the products, links to the products homepage, and more.

If you don’t select “Learn more” the ad will finish as usual, and display the interactive product page for 3-seconds or so, and if you don’t interact with the ad your intended video start immediately. 

Why am I excited about this?  This signals a belief that I have about Microsoft getting ready to blur the lines between broadcast and broadband in Media Center.  In order to move to Internet-based delivery of video, content owners need a platform for advertising.  Video ads are just one part of this; interactive ads can give you a major leg up on the competition and Microsoft appears to be preparing for this (Coincidently, the AP covers the online video ad market today).

There are concerns here however.  Microsoft must make sure they handle interactivity in Media Center correctly.  If you intrude on the user experience there will be a backlash.  That said, I have no problems with the way it is currently handled and I’d even welcome an (opt-in?) personalized service in the future where ads are targeted to my interests (think of how Cookies work today). 

Screenshots below. 

Published Sat, Apr 12 2008 22:11 by chrisl


# Media Center Gets First Taste of Interactive Advertising - Chris Lanier's Blog

While we wait for the Internet TV plug in to be made available for countries outside of the USA Microsoft

Sunday, April 13, 2008 1:43 AM by Ian Dixon's Blog

# re: Media Center Gets First Taste of Interactive Advertising

Ian - you aren't missing much.

Sunday, April 13, 2008 1:16 PM by digitalfreak

# re: Media Center Gets First Taste of Interactive Advertising

The only reason this isn't obtrusive is because there is NO viable content on internet tv besides Arrested Development. Everything else falls into one of 3 categories:

1. Unviable Content (Viral videos from MSN?  Are you kidding?  Get Yougle working 100% on my 360)

2. News (I can get it from a variety of sources, MS needs give me a reason to get it there)

3. Advertising (yes, movie trailers and music videos ARE advertising.)

I had hope for Internet TV when it was announced, but they've left it to twist in the wind.  In order to attract advertisers, you need to attract eyeballs;  In order to attract eyeballs, you need to have content someone wants to watch.  

In its current incarnation, this will be completely ineffective.  Now if I could launch a product page in a web browser and make a purchase on my PC by clicking on my Xbox remote, or rent a movie from Marketplace directly from one of these ads, that'd be innovative.  MS already holds patents on similar technology, why is there still a disconnect between television advertising and direct sales in this day and age?  Don't tell me where I can buy it, sell it to me directly.

Now, I realize that I'm all over the place on this - so I'll just close by saying that the second it becomes obtrusive (say by sticking one of these ads in before my daughter watches recorded TV thats been run through lifextender) is the second I bolt for Sage or BeyondTV.

Sunday, April 13, 2008 2:18 PM by Karl

# re: Media Center Gets First Taste of Interactive Advertising

Karl - What are you missing is that to get more content, Microsoft has to offer advertising methods for the owners.  This is a perfect way to get more content!

I don't think the content is that bad, there are several concerts (I believe over a dozen) from names you actually know, there are spots clips, news, content from major sources, etc.  The way to build on this is to get advertising down, else your always going to be stuck with less content.

Sunday, April 13, 2008 2:22 PM by chrisl

# re: Media Center Gets First Taste of Interactive Advertising

Valid point, but I see it as a chicken or the egg proposition.  Why advertise somewhere where very few will seek it out, even out of the small percentage of the population of the US that uses Media Center?  And, not a sarcastic, rhetorical question cause I honestly don't know, but does Comcrap require you to watch ads before you watch something on VOD?

Had you not said anything, I never would have known about this, because I operate under the impression that Internet TV is a waste of space.  For some unknown reason, my brother still doesn't have Internet TV on his start menu.  

Noticed after I posted that the picture you've  got posted of the Infinity ad has button on it to visit  Maybe its just me, but it doesn't do anything.  WTF?

Sunday, April 13, 2008 2:52 PM by Karl

# re: Media Center Gets First Taste of Interactive Advertising

Well, part of the idea is that Media Center will grow and advertising in such a space would grow with it.

I think that will we see the Internet TV plug-in grow into more of a platform for web video within Media Center.  Think about something like integrated into Media Center.

I'd also note that Internet TV is still in beta, which implies Microsoft isn't done with it yet.  Considering the content comes from existing MSN Video library, I think this is more of a proof of concept to show content owners what can be done so they can get more of them onboard.

Sunday, April 13, 2008 3:09 PM by chrisl