Reading List: Microsoft’s Interactive TV Push


Kinect-Powered TV Ads: Hardly anything of real news value goes down at the Cannes ad fest. But Microsoft usually rolls out a few things. This year it’s introducing the concept of NUads, which “transform traditional, linear TV advertising into an interactive experience” by letting viewers use the gesture and voice controls of Microsoft’s Kinect gaming system. The way this works, according to Microsoft, is a viewer can shout at the TV “Xbox more” for further information, “Xbox near me” to get retailer information, and “Xbox calendar” to schedule an event. It’s a clever approach to the long-standing quest to marry the interactivity of the Web with the lean-back experience of TV. Whether this effort will pan out remains to be seen — Microsoft has been talking up addressable, interactive TV ads for many years now, with little to show for it. Microsoft blog

Cleaning Up the Metrics Mess: The Interactive Advertising Bureau is rolling up its sleeve to wade into the thorny issues surrounding Web advertising metrics. Despite its billing as the most measurable of media, the Net still befuddles marketers with its ever-changing metrics that often don’t match up with how marketers want to measure their efforts. The IAB is proposing some fairly broad principles for measurement. The principles are hardly controversial or concrete — Because all ad units are not created equal, the industry must create a better classification system — but a couple stand out. One is the shift to audience impressions. The other is the need to match up metrics with offline media. Hammering out a workable metrics solution is comparable to enacting Middle East peace. The IAB’s at least gotten the ball rolling. PaidContent

Bubble or Not a Bubble?: The navelgazing parlor game of debating whether we’re in a revamped version of the Internet bubble continues. The Associated Press weighs in with a column by Michael Liedtke that argues a straight-up no. Liedtke, a veteran Silicon Valley reporter, has some perspective, having witnessed the madness of the late 1990s. And current delusions pale in comparison, particularly since only a handful of digital companies have gone public, unlike back in 2000 when everybody and their mother was filing. But that’s an easier argument than arguing whether the current situation is an unsustainable mix of valuations and expectations. The key difference is the people who will lose their shirts will be well-heeled investors, so not that many tears need to be shed. As IAC chief Barry Diller said about the bubble, “The only people who will get hurt this time can afford it.” AP
New Agency Model: My former employer, the revamped Adweek, is desperately seeking the new agency model. It seems convinced it will find this prophesied creature in Brooklyn, since the magazine relaunched with a splashy feature on DUMBO shops and continues with a tech shop with DUMBO roots, Mir. Adweek profiles Mir in a Q&A video interview of the founders of this “new model agency.” The problem is the founders immediately shrug off the title agency. Oh well, nothing totally new there. But there’s the question of whether Mir, which mostly produces work for other agencies, is really a new model. It might be quite good at what it does, but I’m not sure that qualifies as something particularly revolutionary to how advertising has worked for some time. It might be time to stop searching for the new model and look at those updating the old model for modern times. Adweek

Facebook’s Display Reign: There’s a passing of the torch. Facebook is now selling more “display advertising” than Yahoo, at least according to eMarketer. That’s led to some triumphalist headlines for Facebook. AdAge called it a “kingpin.” Much nicer than two and a half years ago when Business Insider took Facebook to task for being “outsold” by MySpace. Hindsight’s 20/20. Facebook’s built a sizable ad business on the back of meteoric user growth, not much else. Advertisers are hardly in love with its offerings, which ad chief Caroline Everson herself says are only 1 percent completed. The question is whether Facebook will be content to play a mass-scale game or make a real play for brand dollars it isn’t yet getting. Emarketer

More in Media

NewFronts Briefing: Samsung, Condé Nast, Roku focus presentations on new ad formats and category-specific inventory

Day two of IAB’s NewFronts featured presentations from Samsung, Condé Nast and Roku, highlighting new partnerships, ad formats and inventory, as well as new AI capabilities.

The Athletic to raise ad prices as it paces to hit 3 million newsletter subscribers

The New York Times’ sports site The Athletic is about to hit 3 million total newsletter subscribers. It plans to raise ad prices as as a result of this nearly 20% year over year increase.

NewFronts Briefing: Google, Vizio and news publishers pitch marketers with new ad offerings and range of content categories

Day one of the 2024 IAB NewFronts featured presentations from Google and Vizio, as well as a spotlight on news publishers.