Cablevision unveils interactive banner ads on TV

Cablevision Systems is bringing interactive banner ads to television, allowing viewers to order samples and brochures and even purchase products by clicking the remote on their TV sets.

Banner ads will run at the bottom of select TV commercials, in collaboration with at least half a dozen consumer brand advertisers. When viewers click on the ad, the screen will shrink to a quarter of its size and the rest will feature product information.

The ads will only let viewers order product samples, brochures and coupons when they start running in early October. By year's end, viewers will be able to save video ads, such as movie trailers, to watch later. Purchasing via their remotes will come in 2010.

The ads will appear on least 25 cable networks, Cablevision said. The TV commercial and the accompanying banner ad will be from the same advertiser.

"We believe TV can give you more and this is a fun new way to extend your television experience," said Gemma Toner, senior vice president of marketing and business development. "This is done in a way that is not intrusive. The consumer is in control."

One of the first advertisers to participate is Benjamin Moore, which will give out free paint samples. Cablevision declined to identify the other advertisers.

Cablevision planned a formal announcement Wednesday.

Earlier this year, the Bethpage, N.Y.-based cable operator rolled out addressable ads to 500,000 New York area households tailored to their perceived interests based on demographic data. It has had video-on-demand channels dedicated to advertisers for years.

Other cable operators such as Comcast and Time Warner Cable are testing or rolling out addressable, targeted and interactive ads, but they're not as advanced in the effort as Cablevision.

Cablevision serves 3.1 million subscribers in the New York metro area.

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