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‘R’, the cable operator of Galicia in Spain, will deploy interactive advertising within the EPG to all its 100,000 digital TV customers by the start of next year. The company has trialled the service with 5,000 customers and feedback has been good. The advertising campaigns have focused on R products including a promotion for half price movies, multi-room TV and mobile services. The company already has a much higher triple-play penetration than average for Spain and according to Antonio Ratón, Project Manager for Interactive TV & New Services at R Cable Y Telecomunicaciones, promoting R products will be one of the key benefits of interactive programme guide advertising. It is clear that the new inventory also appeals to national brands and smaller local companies.
Galicia is the north western region of Spain. R has a 1.6 million home footprint there and 273,000 customers in total including businesses. With 38% of the customer base signed up for television, telephony and broadband, it is a triple-play pioneer and 8% of customers are now quad-play users, taking mobile as well. The company is offering a growing number of services to grow ARPU including home device maintenance, and with DOCSIS 3.0 technology deployed and broadband speeds of 100Mbps available – and most customers taking 12Mbps or above – there is plenty of opportunity to upsell customers. And that is before considering television, where the company has movie and other pay channels plus a new VOD service to promote.
Interactive programme guide advertising has been attracting more attention recently and R provides an example of how a platform operator can use this inventory to drive up Average Revenue Per User. But this is not just about showing off the cable product portfolio. Ratón views the EPG as a good location for brand advertisers who want to engage viewers more deeply with interactive links and calls to action, which could mean viewers watching extended videos or requesting more information via SMS or email. In the trial, the advertising is discrete, taking a moderate amount of screen space in the form of a static or interactive banner sitting to the left of the programme information.
Ratón believes there is an opportunity to combine interactive advertising with addressability. “Targeting is very powerful,” he says. “You could target homes based on their monthly fee and according to the time of day or which channels the set-top box has been tuning to.” An understanding of customer packages means the company can also target the right kind of R promotion to each home. As an example, if you are a mobile customer and your contract runs out next month, you could receive details about new contracts. “It is very important that you address the right advertising to the right client,” Ratón adds.
He emphasises that the interactive EPG is not just a place to promote R content. He thinks the brand advertisers are the real opportunity and a source of new revenue. The cable operator has a number of external interactive campaigns ready to implement in the new year. The roll-out of the interactive EPG advertising will coincide with the deployment of R’s new VOD service, which is also being trialled today.
You can hear more about what Antonio Ratón thinks of ‘Smart EPG advertising for linear and on-demand video’, and further details about R’s plans, at the Future TV Advertising Forum, where two of the 2011 conference themes are ‘Attracting more advertising money’ and ‘Making television more relevant’.