Granada offers net free via TV

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.

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

platform.



ONdigital plans to offer internet access via TV sets by the end of

2000.



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

packages.’