Cable Execs to Industry: Embrace Interactive

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Cable operators need to embrace interactive advertising technology or risk the danger of falling into the broadcast model abyss, a panel of experts said at the Advanced Advertising conference. The panel, called “Clickable Engagement: Next-Generation TV Advertising,” was moderated by Multichannel News Technology Editor Todd Spangler.

With more and more operators deploying Enhanced TV Binary Interchange Format (EBIF), the technical foundation for interactive advertising, panelists agreed that 2010 could be the time for advanced ads to make an impact. And though the technology has been hyped before with little to show for it, one panelist said those that don’t embrace the technology will suffer the consequences.

“Dollars follow eyeballs,” said Steve Jacobs, Time Warner Cable’s New York regional VP for media sales. “If we are content to sit with what we have, then we fall to the broadcast model.”

Barry Frey, Cablevision Systems’ executive VP of cable platform sales, said interactive advertising has left the development stage at his company. The New York-centric MSO is rolling out products, including dedicated branded channels and showcases.

“People are extremely comfortable with their remote control, with their living room and with their television sets,” Frey said. “So that’s why I think we’re going to see an acceleration [of interactive ads]. If consumers are doing this and the technology is there, advertisers are going to have to follow.”