TiVo Makes First Move Into Interactive Programming

Adds Tag to Speed Channel Show That Clicks Over to BMW Content

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Branded entertainment is about to get a little more interactive.
Those tuning in to 'Test Drive' can pause the Speed Channel show to click over to original content from BMW, whose M Series appears in the program.
Those tuning in to 'Test Drive' can pause the Speed Channel show to click over to original content from BMW, whose M Series appears in the program.

On Father's Day, TiVo users who settle into the couch to watch Speed Channel's "Test Drive" program will watch the show's host drive the sporty BMW M around Europe and the East Coast. They'll also see a little something extra integrated into the weekly auto enthusiast show -- an interactive "tag" that lets viewers jump to longer-form BMW content to learn more about the car.

Extension of ad program
The program marks TiVo's first foray into interactive programming, an extension of the interactive advertising it has been selling to advertisers for the past year. TiVo has previously added interactive tags to advertising within content but this is the first time the company has embedded such a tag within a TV show. And like the interactive ad pitch, which garners a 6% to 8% conversion rate when a brochure or other form of additional information is offered, TiVo is expecting the auto enthusiasts that tune into the Speed Channel to find the content worth clicking.

"For us, you'll definitely see more enhancements to programming," said Davina Kent, VP-national ad sales at TiVo. "We're focused on improving the value to the consumer and looking for opportunities to give advertisers a chance to reach the consumer."

When a viewer clicks the "tag" button on their remote, the program will automatically pause and the user will be taken to an interactive branded BMW page. The user can click the remote at any time to return to "Test Drive." TiVo is also promoting the show on its "Showcase" platform -- a channel within TiVo where brands can offer up long-form opt-in ad messages -- and has embedded the tags in the tune-in promos, so people can automatically set their TiVo to record the program.

Coming up with new ad models
TiVo has been working with advertisers to come up with new ad models that work within the consumer-empowering technology. The premise is that people don't mind advertising as long as it's relevant to them and, in fact, many viewers will opt into advertising

Upon hearing the BMW M Series would be the subject of an upcoming "Test Drive," TiVo took the idea to BMW's agency, GSD&M, Austin, Texas, which already buys BMW ad time on Speed Channel and has worked with TiVo on BMW promos in the past.

"BMW is all about being relevant to the audience," said Carmen Graf, senior VP-group media director, GSD&M. "When TiVo brought this to us, it echoed that."
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