DTT’s most intriguing impact could be on interactive or two-way advertising campaigns, which are still largely experimental. Because DTT is a more universal delivery system than cable or satellite, it has the potential to make interactive advertising more common.
For this to happen, DTT systems would have to be developed so that consumers could interact with show hosts and other participants of shows, especially on opinion shows and news debates in which viewers are invited to respond to surveys and comment on issues. Through these interactive vehicles, DTT content providers could collect data about audience interests, and follow up with highly targeted advertising. This type of two-way sales programming could be enhanced with Web-type shopping via DTT systems so that consumers could immediately purchase products in response to these targeted ads.
The future of DTT comes down to numbers. The terrestrial open platform provides a strong enough signal to reach everyone without the need for a satellite dish or cable lines, and it can potentially offer more than 50 free digital channels, depending on a country’s geography and available terrestrial frequencies. Cable and satellite are more powerful — most cable TV systems offer about 150 channels, and satellite TV delivers 500 or more channels — but they are based on proprietary platforms and monthly subscription fees.
Perhaps the more important numbers have to do with investments of time and money. It will be a lot quicker and, over time, a lot less expensive for small content providers to offer high-quality, Internet-age, in-home and mobile programming and applications on DTT than on any other medium. That may just be enough to begin the new revolution in old TV.
Luigi Pugliese (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a vice president with Booz Allen Hamilton in Milan. He focuses on the strategic transformation of telecommunications and media companies. He is the author of Next TV: The Broadband Entertainment Revolution (Edizione Olivares, 2004).