BT Vision Launches Targeted TV Advertisement Trial

BT Vision announced today the trial launch of a new service that offers customers free film rental in return for watching targeted advertisements through its BT Vision Download Store.

BT Vision Download Store is an online video store available to all of the UK’s 14 million broadband customers, regardless of which internet service provider they use. It is available at www.downloadstore.bt.com.

From the end of November 2007, BT Vision, Hiro Media, Intel® Corporation and FremantleMedia Enterprises will collaborate on a three-month trial offering Download Store customers to watch three films, Mischief Night, Played and The Punk Rock Movie, at no cost. At the time of rental customers will be asked to download free video software from Hiro Media, a developer of innovative internet ad-supported-video-download technology. Viewers will then be asked to provide anonymous demographic information allowing the software to select adverts dynamically that are most suited to the answers provided.

Once downloaded, the film will be available for one month and providing the viewer is online, at each viewing different ads will be shown. Viewers can also send the films to friends via email to be viewed on the same terms.

Breaks, which will be placed at appropriate places in the films, will include adverts provided by isobar, the digital advertising agency, from the RAC, Norwich Union and Territorial Army, amongst others.

Mischief Night is a comedy drama about two families who come together unexpectedly on a local night of carnival trickery and festivity; Played is a gangster thriller based in London and The Punk Rock Movie is a cult documentary film about punk rock in London in the late 70s.

Antony Carbonari, BT Vision’s interactive and commercial media director, said: “This will be a fascinating trial: the concept of targeted TV advertisements is now a reality through the combined technology behind BT Vision Download Store and Hiro’s software solution. We believe that sympathetically-placed, targeted advertising, combined with a viral film-sharing capability, will be attractive to many customers in conjunction with free or reduced content prices. We look forward to the results.”

Ariel Napchi, co-founder and co-CEO of Hiro Media said: “The great unfulfilled vision of the internet is to leverage its distribution power and word-of-mouth capabilities, to provide entertainment fans with free and legal downloads that can be watched when and where they want. BT is taking an industry- leading stride as the first European broadcaster to allow users to download free movies, supported by demographically-targeted and personalised ads, that can then be shared around the internet.”

Graham Palmer, managing director of Intel UK, said: “We welcome the arrival of ad-funded premium content to the UK. We are all familiar with the plethora of free streaming content available out on the internet but the promise of being able to take a very successful broadcast model and offer advertisement-funded content on a schedule that suits the user and allows them to take it on the road with them on their Centrino Duo laptop is very compelling.”

Pete Kalhan, FremantleMedia Enterprises senior vice president, Home Entertainment & Archive Sales, said: “This important agreement will give us a real insight into the downloading habits of consumers and, in particular, how they interact virally and respond to targeted advertising.”