Interactive TV little threat to television advertising, MediaCom reports

Fears that interactive TV would sound the death-knell for 30-second

ads have so far proved to be unfounded, according to the findings of new

research from MediaCom.

Viewers are just as likely to switch into interactive from programmes as

they are from ad breaks. And in reality, interactive use is much higher

in TV "downtime", such as daytime when people are less intent on viewing

and more in a browsing mode.

Sky Interactive gets its highest conversion rate during the pre-peak

period followed by daytime and early peak, according to the report.

MediaCom has taken the available BARB data to assess the impact of

interactive use by tracking viewing habits minute-by-minute and

comparing it with programme scheduling.

MediaCom's TV research manager, Mark Jankowski, said: "Viewers are

treating interactive as a channel and go there on purpose. Due to the

time investment when they are there, viewers are not necessarily likely

to flick into it unless possibly prompted by interactive


The average time spent in interactive is 18 minutes and a typical

viewing session is rarely longer than 30 minutes, according to MediaCom.

It also found that over the whole day, on average, commercial channels

never lose more than 5 per cent of their ratings to interactive and half

this figure comes in peaktime.

When digital television was launched in 1998, the fear for advertisers

was that viewers would take the opportunity to interact every time a

commercial break appeared. Some advertisers, including Abbey National,

suggested that they would move large amounts of media investments away

from TV spot advertising.

About a third of UK homes now have digital television, a similar level

of penetration to that achieved by the internet.