True[X], BrightLine Deal Brings Choice to TV Sets

True[X] viewers will be able to choose to reduce the commercial load in shows they watch on-demand and over-the-top on TV sets following a deal announced by True[X] and BrightLine.

True[X]’s advanced advertising format gives consumers an option to watch the normal amount of commercials during a program or to interact with a single advertising experience. Using online and mobile devices, viewers overwhelmingly choose the interactive experience. They get shows that are interrupted less frequently and marketers get higher engagement for their ad message.

True[X] was acquired by 21st Century Fox last year, and its CEO, Joe Marchese, is in charge of advanced advertising for Fox’s TV networks. In addition to Fox, True[X] has been working with Viacom, NBCUniversal and ABC.

BrightLine’s technology will accelerate the rollout of True[X] to a long list of smart TVs and connected devices, said Ed Davis, chief product officer at True[X], bringing the engagement ad format to the living room TV.

“The next wave of innovation will take place on the TV,” Davis said. “There’s a massive amount of non-linear viewing of premium content that’s happening through devices connected to TV. The technology delivering video to your TV has evolved, so we’re investing in evolving the ad approach.”

Davis noes that connected devices support interactivity and ad targeting, two things needed to make the True[X] format work. “That means that ads that are delivered to your TV can be a lot more effective.”

BrightLine already has the knowhow to transmit branded content through a variety of different devices. That knowhow will be important to True[X] as it starts making deals with more networks and over-the-top video distributors.

“True[X] alignment with our InCAST OTT platform extends their advanced OTT coverage, and brings BrightLine’s capabilities to offer brands high-quality engagement advertising formats that are dynamically tailored to viewers’ choices.” said Robert Aksman, BrightLine’s co-founder and chief experience officer.

In addition to BrightLine’s partnerships with premium TV content players, the InCAST platform is fully deployed on all screens across the entire OTT living room device footprint, including Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Samsung Smart TV, Xbox 360, and Xbox One, as well as all iOS and Android mobile phones and tablets, and desktop.

True[X] declined to say how many TV sets it will be able to reach via BrightLine.

Last month Fox Networks Group and Mondelez, maker of Ritz Crackers, said they would work together to develop new ad formats on steaming and on demand video-platforms and that Mondelez would expand its use of formats created by True[X].

The True[X] ad format becomes part of a network’s ad inventory, one more form of viewer engagement it can sell to its advertising clients. Networks that have been using True[X] online and on mobile can begin selling units on smart TVs and connected devices immediately.

Davis said that True[X] only charges its clients when viewers engage with the ad message. They have to opt-in and open the ad, display the ad, interact with the ad and spend a certain amount of time engaged with the experience.

“It’s really important to introduce new ad approaches for VOD,” Davis said. “The sheer volume of advertising when you’re watching these programs on demand is approaching an untenable viewer experience. So it feels really satisfying to be bringing a solution to the market that I myself as a viewer will be jumping up and down at home celebrating. Just being able do an engagement and have the number of ads be reduces so significantly as a result of that—it’s going to be huge.”

He adds that nobody loses with the True[X] ad. The content producers and networks get proper value for the amount of attention they generate. The advertisers get ads that are more effective than carpet bombing videos, and the viewer wins because they’re not going to be interrupted as much.

“That’s what feels great about introducing this,” Davis said.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.