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Advanced television is an umbrella term used to describe an array of features enabled by digital technology that significantly change analog television as it has come to be known during the 20th century. The term "advanced television" was first used at the MIT Media Labmarker in the early 1990s to explain why High definition television was only an early step in the foreseeable enhancements to the medium. In 1996, David Weiss defined "advanced television" in his book, Issues in Advanced Television Technology to describe "an agglomeration of techniques, based largely on digital signal processing and transmission, that permits far more program material to be carried through channels than existing analog systems can manage." Today, advanced television can be characterized by four features: time shifting, addressability, interactivity and interoperability.

  • Time shifting allows the audience to control when content will be seen. DVRs (Digital Video Recorders) and VOD (Video on Demand) are the two technologies that enable time shifting of television programming. In the USmarker at year-end 2008, 29.8 million (27% of TV households) were DVR subscribers and 41.7 million households (37% of total TV households)were VOD enabled. "In Singaporemarker, the upstart mioTV(an IPTV service provided by incumbent telcoSingTel) has a robust VOD offering that includes movies, local content and more than 50 popular US programs as early as 24 hours after the programs’ US premieres. Content is supplied on a subscription basis."
  • Addressability allows the advertisers to direct messages to subsets of the audience; the audience can also self select (address to self) the content and commercial messages they receive.
  • Interactivity empowers the audience to respond to or bypass content; the advertiser and media can benefit financially from measuring audience response. Now television commercials can enable audience response to a variety of offers using the standard remote. The same response mechanisms that can be used to ask the audience for information or transactional responses can serve as the basis for consumer database marketing. And with that, it becomes natural for media advertising, relationship marketing, and promotion to converge. In Indiamarker, "Dish TV (India’s leading satellite service) allows a viewer to access information about their bank account and various banking products held at India’s largest bank."
  • Interoperability means that the same program and commercial content viewed using a television receiver can cross platforms and be viewed across a multiplicity of platforms/appliances, not just the TV, but also the PC, the mobile handset, the iPod, etc. From a technical standpoint, interoperability between media platforms "requires that all the media has to adopt the same fundamental compression scheme."

In his Advanced TV Advertising Forecast, Brian Wieser (Certified Financial Analyst/Global Forecasting for Interpublic Group's Magna) holds that Advanced TV advertising includes: "Video on Demand (VOD), requests for information (RFIs), long-form showcases, DVR advertising, interactive program guide advertising, addressable advertising, creative versioning and advanced trafficking systems." Advanced TV advertising can also be broadened to include digital incentive requests and direct response transactions.

Advertiser demands for accountability will require new measurements of advertising effectiveness that differ from the "exposure" measurements now so prevalent for determining media cost and efficiencies. Exposure measurements will still have a significant role to play in both pricing and efficiency analyses; but exposure will be a first level of measurement: creating the initial opportunity to generate demand. The concept of exposure will now have to be expanded from real time to include time-shifted and cross platform exposure. The second level of measurement for media pricing and efficiency will be for delivery of additional information. In some ways, this parallels the internet click through model. Here we measure and compensate the media for delivery of additional commercial content based on the requests of the audience. The third level of measurement is transactional. At this level, we measure response and compensate the media for assisting in generating the desired response:

1. opting-in for more information by media or personal delivery

2. redemption of a promotional offer

3. taking a specified action

To satisfy the marketer's need for accountability, the next generation of media measurement will be a multi-level hybrid of the disparate measurements now being used by advertising, direct response, and internet media.

Since the technology to deliver Advanced Television has been extant for over ten years, the current broadcasting business model must be inhibiting the broadscale introduction of Advanced Television. The power players on the selling side: the content developers, the cable and broadcast networks, and the cable, satellite and telecommunications distribution companies have stymied innovation because they are wrestling over how to divide new revenues from time shifting, addressability/targeting, and interactive applications. The power players on the buying side: the media agents who can pool the interests and experiences of their marketer clients have a "wait and see" mindset until more conclusive evidence of effectiveness can be presented. Sponsors and their agencies might break the logjam by making upfront investments in experimenting with Advanced Television and with new programming that delivers value to the audiences that marketers seek to motivate and activate.

"With the recession squeezing ad budgets, cable companies are redoubling their efforts to mimic internet advertising, in part by offering a way to target ads at selected groups of consumers. But the industry is divided on the best approach for delivering such ads." "The industry has struggled so far to establish efficient ways to buy Advanced TV on a meaningful scale. Advanced TV is challenged by the balkanized nature of the cable and satellite industry's advertising infrastructure. This produces a chicken-and-egg problem of limited media investment without better infrastructure and content, but limited infrastructure and content without more media investment," according to Brian Wieser. Industry participants are hopeful that Canoe Ventures, a consortium funded and organized by the industry's largest cable operators to aggregate inventory/infrastructure, can catalyze the sector. Canoe faces meaningful challenges in coordinating technical, sales and operational staff across thousands of varying units of infrastructure. Armed with hundreds of millions of dollars from the six largest cable operators (Comcast, Time Warner, Cox, Cablevision, Charter and Brighthouse), Canoe is in talks to roll outa scaled down version of its first ad-targeting product, called community addressable messaging in summer 2009. The technology will allow advertisers to select cable households within particular areas that have demographic factors, such as income, in common.


  1. Weiss, David, Issues in Advanced Television, 1996, p. 4, Focal Press, ISBN 0-240-80250-0, Drawn from the pages of the author's popular "Advanced Television" column in TV Technology magazine
  2. [1] Wieser, Brian, Magna On-Demand Quarterly, April 2009, p. 3,
  3. [2] Wieser, Brian, Magna On-Demand Quarterly, April 2009, p. 5,
  4. [3] Wieser, Brian, Magna On-Demand Quarterly, April 2009, p. 4,
  5. Arthur R. Tauder, March 2005, [DOI 10.1017/S0021849905050117][4] "Getting Ready for the Next Generation of Marketing Communications" Journal of Advertising Research, p. 5
  6. Weiss, David, Issues in Advanced Television, 1996, p. 70, Focal Press, ISBN 0-240-80250-0, Drawn from the pages of the author's popular "Advanced Television" column in TV Technology magazine
  7. [5] Wieser, Brian, Media Brands- Reports & Studies, May 2009, p. 3,
  8. Gertner, J. "Our Ratings, Ourselves -- The Mismeasurement of TV.". New York Times Magazine, April 10, 2005.
  9. [6] Kumar, Vishesh and Schechner, Sam; Wall Street Journal, May 27, 2009
  10. [7] Wieser, Brian, Media Brands- Reports & Studies. May 2009, Magna

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