Ad Creep: TV’s In-Show Spots Will Increase

Hate the ads that run along the bottom of your favourite TV shows — the one that feature moving images that walk across the the picture? Get ready for more, the NYT tells us:

This fall ABC is introducing the “ABC Start Here” campaign, which consists of a series of icons in the lower right of the screen that direct viewers to related content in other media, like books, DVDs and Web sites. At the end of “Ugly Betty,” for instance, a shopping icon could direct viewers to places where they could buy Betty’s shoes, or an iTunes icon could invite them to that site to buy episodes of the show. The point, said Marla Provencio, an ABC executive vice president of marketing, is “to accommodate viewers’ multimedia, multichannel habits and still lead them back to ABC.”

The Times takes Provencio’s argument — that ABC and other networks are putting lots of ads on TV screens because that’s what the Internet looks like, and TV viewers like the Internet — seriously. But there’s no need to justify the practice — if the networks can sell more screentime without scaring off viewers, they will. It is worth noting, however, that the Web publishers and marketers themselves have shied away from many of the Internet’s most intrusive ad strategies — pop overs and pop unders, for instance. NYT