In a move that might finally bring scale to interactive advertising, ActiveVideo and BrightLine are teaming up to combine their technologies to create, measure and distribute sophisticated video content.
In an announcement made Monday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the two companies introduced CloudTV AdCast, which enables the interactive applications written in HTML5 to be stored in the cloud and played on a variety of set-top boxes and interactive devices.
Interactive advertising has been delayed by the difficulties in getting applications to run on the various technologies used by cable and satellite distributors, particularly older, set-top boxes with limited memory and processing power.
ActiveVideo's cloud-based technology is already being used by Brightline clients L'Oreal and American Express and delivered to viewers via Roku boxes. The company says that the technology could immediately deliver the same interactive experience to about 300 million devices currently in use without rewriting and adapting the application.
Even if the technology works as the companies describe, they still need to get cable operators, satellite companies and other distributors to sign up. But Murali Nemani, CMO for ActiveVideo, says that operators are eager to be able to deliver on TV the kinds of interactive ads now readily available on the Internet in order to get higher rates for their advertising inventory.
"Between the two companies, we think we have cracked the code on achieving the scale and time-to-market breakthrough that are required by agencies and brands to be able to bring this across to millions of households," Nemani said.
Nemani added that the types of ads that Brightline can produce are much more powerful than traditional TV ads, with twice the return on investment and response rates 20 times higher than Internet ads. Consumer engagement time, or how long consumers spend with a brand, is 14 times longer than online interactions, he said.
Brightline has created 500 rich-media campaigns for major marketers. But Rob Aksman, founder and chief experience officer at Brightline, said "we've always been constrained by the technology to truly take the cuffs off from an experience perspective" because traditional distributors have been glacial in the evolution of their platforms. "There's no standard and they're quite clunky," he said.
Aksman says ActiveVideo's technology enables Brightline and its clients to get those advanced experiences "working on the old legacy cable boxes" without the expense of creating different executions for different systems. The technology also enables experiences to be shared via social media.
To take advantage of the new technology L'Oreal has launched OnBeauty, a beauty app for women, designed specifically for connected televisions. American Express is using interactive ads that take viewers to long-form video on how the financial services company helps small business.
Active Video's CloudTV technology is already being used by TV providers, including Charter Communications, Liberty Global, Cablevision Systems, Ziggo, and Oceanic Time Warner Cable. The company is also in a multi-stage trial with Comcast.