MobiTV debuts new model of viewer engagement

Last week at NATPE, in partnership with Intel and Lionsgate film studio, mobile and broadband TV provider MobiTV, Emeryville, CA, introduced its newest use of unique possibilities offered by mobile TV: using the return channel on a handset or mobile Internet device to let viewers interact directly with content.

"We've begun to explore interactive capabilities, and now we've taken what we know and brought it over into the technology we'll be launching over the next year, two years," said Jack Hallahan, MobiTV VP of advertising and branding. "It's an interesting platform for advertising."

MobiTV chose AMC's “Mad Men” for its NATPE demo of the new feature: a loop showing snippets of the show in which viewers could interact with both the content and the advertising.

"It's targeted to episodic shows like ‘The Sopranos’ or ‘Mad Men,’" Hallahan said. While you're watching, you can click on a character and get back stories and plotlines. For example, someone jumping into “Mad Men” midseason might be confused about Dick Whitman's connection to Don Draper.

While you're watching the show, contextually relevant advertising shows in a sidebar. For example, when Sterling-Cooper lands the Heineken account, you not only see a Heineken ad, you can interact with it — for example, find out about the company's history or the calorie content of Heineken Light.

And after your little digression, you can jump back into the show at the place you stopped. "It allows someone to telescope as deep as they like — or as light as they like — into an experience," and "explore the brand and content to any depth they'd like to go," Hallahan said. "The person who's got the device in their hands is in control."

While MobiTV's new interactivity feature will work on current-generation mobile phones and smartphones, it was shown at NATPE on IXI Mobile's Ogo. The device has an optimal video experience, Hallahan said, plus a Web browser, making for a completely seamless user experience.

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