Cisco and Innovid have been demonstrating how broadcasters, service providers or other apps owners can deliver interactive second screen advertising that is relevant to â€˜keywordsâ€™ that are appearing in television shows being watched on the main screen. The solution is built around Contexta, a cloud-based system from Cisco that analyses broadcast content and generates contextually relevant metadata about words being spoken. Thus, when spoken during a chat show, the word â€˜Movemberâ€™, relating to the November prostate cancer awareness and fundraising campaign in the UK that encourages men to grow moustaches for the month, could prompt a second screen advertisement for a Gillette razor.
The key to success is ensuring that the system understands the true context in which the word is being spoken and therefore knows that the words are being talked about appropriately and positively. Clearly this is essential if any brand is going to let its advertising synchronize with the content playing on the main television. The ability to guarantee a positive brand association is â€œpart of the secret sauceâ€ within the system, Adam Davies, Solutions Marketing Manager at Cisco, told the Future TV Advertising Forum in London last week.
Cisco and Innovid, an online interactive advertising specialist, provided a live demonstration of how the system works. While the video was pre-recorded, the analysis of the recorded broadcast feed and the cloud-based processing of the words and their context and meaning was all performed live. So too was the advertising insertion and delivery that followed, which is managed by Innovid. In the case of the Gillette advertisement, it appeared on a tablet and you could get more content related to a Gillette Fusion razor and about Movember.
The synchronization is as near to real-time as it is possible to achieve. This is an obvious example of where true second screen synchronization is required and the demonstration tape, showing the â€˜Late Night with Jimmy Fallonâ€™ chat show featuring an interview with Damian Lewis, emphasized why. Adam Davies gave a view of what the back office looks like, with times and keywords being picked out by the system. So as the interview rolled we had 00:28 Movember, 00:52 Cancer, O1:03 Idol, 01:11 Xbox One and 01:44 Homeland.
The Innovid ad server delivered interactive ads to the second screen for Movember, Xbox One (from Microsoft) and Homeland (a promotional campaign for Season 3 from U.S. premium network Showtime that included a link to HD YouTube content). As Davies pointed out, Contexta needs to understand the difference between when someone is talking about Homeland the programme and Homeland Security. The system draws upon various data sources to build the context, which could include when it is broadcast, what channel it is on, service provider information and subsidiary information taken from the Web, among other things.
The Cisco/Innovid solution can be used with various types of second screen app, whether they are provided by a broadcaster, a service provider (as part of an umbrella companion app) or a third-party app provider. Contexta is part of the VideoScape portfolio of multiscreen and companion screen service provider solutions from Cisco but is available for deployment in non-Videoscape service provider environments.
Real-time synchronized second screen advertising is a powerful proposition but so far the broadcast industry has viewed it as something you do during ad breaks to complement a linear advertisement rather than something you do during the show itself, so this could take us into new territory. Broadcasters can already use pre-arranged prompts to push an interactive campaign to a second screen; the difference here is that it is keywords providing the prompt and also the automation. Contexta identifies the word and its context and the Cisco/Innovid system can then determine which ads to deliver and take care of the rest.
It looks like this approach makes the process of pushing synchronized interactive second screen ads very scalable. It does not require a giant leap of the imagination to see how you could stack up a collection of ad campaigns and either sell keywords for a show or keywords across a whole channel. The technology is not going to limit your options so it will be interesting to see how the advertising industry reacts to this opportunity.
Clearly it does require a huge deal of trust from a brand to advertise against a keyword that is interpreted in real-time by a system rather than a human, given their need to protect brand values. The fact that Cisco is behind this should give this concept a head start in the brand protection conversations.