AMC Networks viewers watching via OTT apps on Apple TV and Roku will be seeing interactive tune-in ads for the first time, starting with stepped up engagement around promos for AMC's new original series Dietland. The interactive spots running across all network apps are the result of a recently announced partnership between AMC Networks and advanced TV pioneer BrightLine and demonstrate options now available for brands as well.
Viewers seeing the spots for the dark comedy Dietlandwill be able to watch a trailer of the show and at the same time interact and "meet" the characters of the program -- an interaction that executives from both companies say will demonstrate how their partnership can offer advertisers the functionality, engagement and measurement of digital, combined with the brand-safe impact of some of the biggest shows on TV.
The partnership with BrightLine "will let us fully leverage the capabilities of our living room apps for AMC, IFC, SundanceTV, WE tv and BBC America and deliver deeper levels of engagement to our viewers," said Kirk Linden, Senior Vice President of Advanced Platforms Ad Sales and Operations at AMC Networks. "It will give us the ability to add interactivity and dynamic creative to make ads more impactful, engaging and measurable."
"And on the most highly sought-after programming on TV!" added Rob Aksman, BrightLine's Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer. "Advertisers are getting the best of two different worlds with the AMC Networks launch of BrightLine's OTT platform, InCast. They're getting all of the benefits of uber-premium television networks and hyper-premium content on the big screen in the living room. They're preserving all of that amazing value of TV, while adding the benefits of digital, combining the best of those worlds without the baggage that's now often getting associated with online video."
Marketers will see attention metrics indicating how engaged viewers are with the commercial and the percent that are choosing to interact, as well as how much time they're spending. According to Aksman, marketers will now get to see those digital-style metrics for TV via real-time dashboards and weekly reports, and they will be able to sequence creative -- to arrange for viewers to see different content depending on how they've already interacted.
"In the Dietland execution, what viewers will see is an ad format which allows them to interact with a commercial during the commercial," Aksman continued. "So, viewers can scroll through the different characters in the program while the spot is playing, giving advertisers a quick, easy, extra level of engagement for TV commercials to keep a viewer from looking away from the TV. Our partnership with AMC will allow their premier advertisers to blend content with brand messaging to raise the bar on viewer experience."
Other formats allow for the viewer to see additional video content and extend the engagement beyond 30 seconds, or for a national retailer to enable dynamic creative such as an overlay of the location of the viewer's nearest store.
BrightLine has deployed this technology in the past, which should give marketers confidence in the product. Never before, though, has BrightLine launched across a suite of five apps at the same time, Aksman said. "This partnership will let advertisers interact across the No. 1 program on TV," he noted, referring to AMC's The Walking Dead. "It gives advertisers the scale they want. That's particularly exciting."
For Linden, some of the excitement comes in part from how aligned the AMC technology team is with the sales team. "We specifically integrated the ad product team within sales and operations here to allow for rapid deployment of advanced offerings like this and others," he said. "We anticipate demand for these products reaching critical mass within the market, so we designed a structure that lets us move quickly. Our sales team is an integrated sales team, so they sell across all platforms, from linear all the way to highly interactive digital offerings. This is an opportunity that they're taking to market as a team, to be able to help advertisers with the various challenges they have."
While AMC's InCast launch is only on OTT apps on Apple TV and Roku at first, there is a roadmap for eventual launch on AMC's apps across the entire array of streaming tools.
"We see this as an opportunity to take the best of digital and apply it to the TV experience -- the living room experience -- and to deliver capabilities that previously were only available on desktops to a much more engaged viewer sitting in front of the big screen in their living room," Linden concluded. "We think that just delivering that level of capabilities along with the quality of the programming on our networks is a natural fit."
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