Monday, October 20, 2008

College Students Get a Taste of TV's Future

It's a very personalized experience.

-Linor Tal Levav, vice president-content strategy and acquisition, Intercast

In Joe Mandese, "Esurance, MPG Back New Ad-Supported Video Service: Provide Pay TV Series Free To College Kids," Online Media Daily, October 13, 2008

Students at a few leading universities, among them Purdue and Columbia, are part of a test that allows them to watch TV shows from Paramount's subscription network Showtime for free. The programming includes series like Dexter, The Tudors, and Californiacation. They are being made available for free to students who agree to watch ads on a a new online service, Kazam. Kazam is using technology by Intercast, which runs on Internet2, an ultra-high speed service that research universities have implemented on their campuses.

Although from the students' standpoint the service may be a way to get cool programming that would otherwise cost money, Intercast, Kazam and their advertisers see it as a way to use the fastest technology to test the customization of commercials and programs based on data Kazam has about each student. Intercast's Levav says that "The nice thing about our platform is that we serve the ads from storage, so we can serve them in great quality, high-definition, and we can combine features like targeting and interactivity and data feedback." The consequence is that the Kazam service can serve different shows and commercials --"say an episode of "Dexter" for one student, or a Discovery Channel show for another, or even a Sports Illustrated swimsuit special for a third, along with different commercials"--based on "the viewer's profile, their user behavior and the context of when and where they are viewing the content."

Although it seems like simply a way to make money from advertising in a college environment, it's really a test by advertisers, media planners, and technology firm of the TV model for all Americans in the not-too-distant future.

No comments: