Advertising bans spur interactive TV market

Wellington-based Eyemagnet plans to capitalise on this emerging opportunity

With Auckland considering a ban on outdoor advertising and other cities already heading down this path, interactive television could become the new advertising frontier.

Wellington-based Eyemagnet plans to capitalise on this emerging opportunity. It recently signed major local and international contracts to provide interactive television and multimedia marketing solutions to companies such as our own Telecom and to Brazilian bus-manufacturer Caio.

The Eyemagnet software allows content to be customised on multiple screens, in different locations, offering wide-ranging opportunities to retailers, as well as to bars, and at sporting and entertainment events.

Interactivity is provided through downloads, using a short code-number to integrate big screen and public-facing multimedia offerings with mobile handsets’ small screen.

This allows for public interaction, including text messages, which can be moderated immediately and broadcast onto screens. Text replies can then direct the customer to browse relevant websites via their handset.

“Eyemagnet is all about extending the big-screen experience down to the small screen, so the customer can continue the experience,” says Nick Ratcliffe, Eyemagnet general manager for sales and marketing.

The company recently completed a large interactive public-screen promotion for a US tour by rock bands Korn and Evanescence, working alongside The Hyperfactory, another New Zealand technology company. Similar projects have included Auckland’s Big Day Out.

In Brazil, Eyemagnet has supplied “busTV” interactive advertising to Caio, one of that country’s largest bus-makers.

The system will go live, initially, in 300 buses at the end of October. Caio runs 35,000 buses in Sao Paulo alone.

Ratcliffe says Sao Paulo recently banned outdoor advertising.

“With a city of 18 million people, this is a way to continue to reach customers. Other cities are considering such bans — Auckland City Council wants to do it. So, there is tremendous potential for interactive television advertising on public transport.”

Eyemagnet has also worked on interactive projects with Saatchi & Saatchi.

It recently developed a “virtual changing-room”, which was trialed in a pilot scheme with clothing retailer Hallenstein.

The prototype features an interactive mirror which enables shoppers to use motion-detection to select items from the company’s product range and then try them on virtually. High-definition images can also be streamed to friends’ computers or mobile devices for a second opinion.

The company builds all its own software. Ratcliffe says the next business step is venture capital funding.

“We are expanding very fast and want to move rapidly to the next level. To do that, we need investment.”

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Tags advertisingmultimediainteractive televisioneyemagnet

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