The Granada Media Group has unveiled plans to provide the first
free internet access for terrestrial TV viewers. The move is designed to
pull in advertisers to its web service G-Wizz and to create attractive
cross-media sales packages for advertisers.
From July, customers will get a set-top box giving them full access to
the internet and e-mail through their TVs.
The set-top box will be available free of charge at 440 Granada Rental
shops across the UK, with the proviso that each subscriber fills out a
comprehensive set of questions every month, updating Granada on viewing
habits. The box can be connected to any digital or analogue TV and is
operated by a remote control keyboard.
Granada Media Interactive, under head of sales Kevin Baverstock, will be
responsible for selling the concept to advertisers.
Julian Turner, director of interactive at Granada Media, said: ’This
will extend the possibilities for advertisers, acting as a base to
secure integrated sponsorship deals, banner and direct-response
advertising thanks to the additional subscriber information. Fmcg brands
want tightly targeted audiences.’
While some agencies have criticised the new platform, Granada is only
presenting it as a stopgap until ONdigital launches its interactive
ONdigital plans to offer internet access via TV sets by the end of
One agency source said: ’Granada has just found another way to take
people away from peak-time TV. In an atmosphere where advertisers are
complaining bitterly about ITV airtime and high inflation rates, this
initiative may well prove detrimental to its core product.’
However, David Peter, broadcast planning director at Carat, said:
’Advertisers are concerned about targeting viewers, so the more they
know about consumers, the better they will be at presenting sales