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Interactive TV Moves to Second Screen

Call it over-the-top
TV advertising.

Companies including
Shazam Entertainment,
Invidi Technologies, IntoNow
and Spot411 Technologies
are pitching TV
networks and advertisers
on a new way to deliver
interactive content
to viewers — via smartphones
and tablet devices,
not through a cable or
satellite set-top box.

Shazam, whose apps
identify songs based on
their audio fi ngerprint, is
making a big bet on TV.
The Shazam app takes
five to 10 seconds to identify
the audio in a TV show
or ad (which has been ingested and processed
ahead of time), then offers various options to
the user, such as calling the advertiser, watching
a video clip or entering an e-commerce

Since launching in February, Shazam for
TV has reached more than 100 million people
and served 5.5 billion impressions, according
to executive vice president of advertising
sales Evan Krauss. Advertisers that have aired
“Shazamable” ad campaigns include Honda,
Starbucks, Paramount Pictures’ Transformers
3, Procter & Gamble and Progressive Insurance.


“Using remote-based interactive TV is more
intrusive,” Krauss said. “We’re all sitting there
on our couches with our iPads, iPhones and
Android devices anyway.”

Last month, London-based Shazam raised
a $32 million round — funding to be used to
support Shazam for TV — led by Kleiner Perkins
Caufield & Byers and Institutional Venture
Partners (IVP), with existing investor DN
Capital participating.

In the initial campaigns, 0.3% of viewers
accessed the Shazam-enabled commercials,
triple the average online click-through rate of
0.1%. Of those viewers, 27% either shopped,
downloaded the song featured in the ad or
viewed additional content, according to the

NBCUniversal is
using Shazam for
TV across NBC, USA
Network, Syfy, Bravo,
Oxygen, Telemundo,
Mun2, CNBC and
MSNBC. For example,
the programmer
has included Shazam
tags in Oxygen’s The
Glee Project,
and Bravo’s
“Summer by Bravo”
promo commercials.

“Strategically, networks
are all looking
to provide deeper
engagement with
their programming,
and to increase their
[Nielsen] rating by
getting people to tune
in live,” Krauss said.

Shazam’s pricing for TV advertising is an
additional 25 to 40 cents on top of the ad unit’s
cost per thousand (CPM). With networks
it charges differently,
in some cases
offering flat-fee
or revenue-sharing

Spot411 is taking
a similar approach
with TVplus, which
also uses audio recognition
to let any
device with a microphone
ID a television
program or
movie. According to
the Orange, Calif.-based startup, TVplus can
identify to within one second of the exact location
of a program, providing real-time contextual
content or ads on the second screen.

TVplus was selected as the “best new idea”
out of 11 presentations by attendees of Cable-
Labs’ Winter Conference in February.


Yahoo has entered the space as well. In April,
it bought IntoNow, a seven-employee startup
that developed an iPhone app that identifies
the TV show a user is currently viewing based
on the program’s audio.

IntoNow launched Jan. 31, 2011, with a database
it claimed indexes audio from more
than five years of U.S.-based TV programming.
The app uses a “sound print” to identify
content down to the airing, episode and time
within a program as well as provide program
information and links associated with it.

Meanwhile, addressable-advertising technology
vendor Invidi has spent two years quietly
developing its own TV tagging system,
dubbed SnapPing. It hasn’t launched yet,
as the system undergoes final testing, but
will eventually be accessible through iPads,
iPhones, Android devices and at SnapPing.

Unlike other approaches, SnapPing lets
viewers identify content using a “Snap-
Tag” not only via audio recognition but also
speech, text entry and image recognition —
a distinction Invidi president and CEO Dave
Downey said is crucial.

“Our research proves that audio detection
is not enough,” Downey said. “It is a nonstarter
for adults over 35, and it is limited to situations
where audio detection can work.”

According to a $250,000 focus group
study Invidi commissioned, consumers
strongly preferred
speaking or text
ing the SnapTag
into a device, with
Shazam-style audio
recognition a distant
third. Invidi is
refining the format
for the SnapTag, but
Downey said it will
work with both live
or recorded shows.

Krauss, though,
maintains that
Shazam has a big
head start over rivals. Shazam serves 4 million
lookups daily, and 150 million people
have used the apps to date.

“We have a huge user base,” he said. “The
technology is done. The question is, what kind
of experience can you offer after you ID the