Optimizing Interactive Marketing in Digital Television Systems
Interactive broadcasting elaborates the realization of novel next generation network technologies, able to provide multiple interactive multimedia and Internet based services, utilizing Digital Video Broadcasting advances. On the other hand, IP multimedia subsystem is a promising solution that may be adopted in next generation networks providing advanced capabilities and added value data services. In this context, this study investigates interactive broadcasting systems and IP multimedia subsystem convergence and proposes a novel research rationale which could be adopted towards optimizing interactive marketing. The proposed approach may enable for a more efficient process of collecting and analyzing feedback data from users/viewers. This process is vital for optimum marketing and advertising purposes, since potential information data, collected by utilizing sophisticated technologies, may be used effectively to target customers in a more efficient way.
Received: July 15, 2011;
Accepted: September 19, 2011;
Published: October 27, 2011
Interactive communication is vital in marketing, enabling the real needs of
customers/users to be successfully met. Traditionally, enterprises try to maintain
contact with customers/users via phone, e-mails and Internet based networks.
Nowadays, sophisticated advances may be the mean, enabling for a vital interactive
contact between the enterprise and its customers. In order to a more efficient
cooperation and relationship to occur between these two parties, a first part
of an IT strategy in an enterprise, is to integrate business systems using a
common interface. In this way, customers can interact and report back directly
their needs. The second component of this strategy is a database analysis. The
results may define the basis for models aimed at understanding the real customers
needs. In this context, the convergence in interactive broadcasting systems
(Crinon et al., 2006) and IP Multimedia Subsystem
(IMS) (Camarillo et al., 2007) could contribute
efficiently towards optimizing the process of collecting data from users/viewers.
Furthermore, Interactive marketing enables customers collaboration utilizing
a digital media and allows a company to use direct response communication in
order to build a relationship with them. In a general context, long-term communication
strategies should be planned carefully, otherwise the client can develop a negative
view of the company (Barwise and Farley, 2005). For
instance, if a company has come into contact very often with the clients with
no real purpose, the customers will likely ignore the related notices in the
future. In order to avoid this, potential customers are asked for feedback regularly.
Despite the promotion of risks taken by companies, they wish to have great opportunities
to promote their products to individual customers. Some companies' websites
utilize already call back images giving the opportunity for customers to contact
them. Such information can be delivered directly to the company through fast
and easy to complete research or through an independent third party.
Moreover, interactive broadcasting elaborates on the realization of novel television
networks (Pallis et al., 2006; Mastorakis
et al., 2006) able to provide multiple interactive multimedia and
Internet services (Pallis et al., 2007), utilizing
Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) advances (Reimers, 2006).
The first existing networking architectures based on interactive broadcasting
enabled the provision of IP data casting offering offline interactivity (Linder
et al., 2000; Kellerer et al., 2000).
According to these infrastructures, a large volume of data is pushed with constant
bit rate to the end users terminals through DVB channels (Reimers,
2006) with a repeated process (data carousel). Data is then received offline
by the end user via a graphic interface and there is no real interactivity in
such systems, since the end user is not able to receive real time interactive
services (e.g., Internet based services). The utilization of an interaction
channel according to the generic interactivity model (ETSI
ETS 300 802, 1997), was essential in order to transfer end users requests
to the service provider, enabling for the provision of real interactive services
(Gardikis, 2004; Mastorakis et
Furthermore, the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) (Poikselka
and Mayer, 2009) is considered as a promising solution to fulfill a number
of requirements in next generation networks and broadcasting systems. IMS refers
to a functional architecture for providing multimedia services based on Internet
Protocols (Bertrand, 2007). The goal is to merge Internet
technologies and wireless networks, to enable rich multimedia communications
as well as a number of other functionalities. The first version of IMS was focused
on facilitating the development and deployment of new services in mobile networks.
It was later extended by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute
(ETSI) (Sultan, 2009), including utilization in Next
Generation Networks (i.e., NGN). A standardization body of ETSI, namely the
Telecommunications and Internet converged Services and Protocols for Advanced
Networking (i.e., TISPAN) standardized a subsystem of IMS, regarding NGN.
In this context, this study investigated the convergence of interactive broadcasting systems with IMS and proposes a novel research approach which could be utilized in interactive marketing, towards a more efficient process of collecting and analyzing feedback results from potential users/viewers of an interactive television enterprise.
INTERACTIVE MARKETING AND DIGITAL VIDEO BROADCASTING
Marketing is the process used to determine what products or services may be
of interest to customers and the strategy to use in sales, communications and
business development. Marketing generates the strategy that underlies sales
techniques, business communication and business developments and it is an integrated
process through which companies build strong customer relationships and create
value for their customers and for themselves. Marketing is used to identify
the customer, satisfy the customer and keep the customer. In this context, several
approaches have been proposed (Hutter and Hoffmann, 2011;
Alsamydai et al., 2010; Leung,
2009). With the customer as the focus of its activities, marketing management
is one of the major components of business management. Marketing evolved to
meet the stasis in developing new markets caused by mature markets and overcapacities
in the last 2-3 centuries. The adoption of marketing strategies requires businesses
to shift their focus from production to the perceived needs and wants of their
customers as the means of staying profitable (Shiraishi
and Razaq, 2005; Javadein et al., 2011; Jehangir
et al., 2011).
The overall target of interactive marketing is to enable advertisers to target
customers needs more successfully. Towards this scope, a number of advances/developments
have been achieved, that may change the role of advertising on television in
the future. Currently, viewers are invited to move to a more interactive world
of television or are invited to visit a Web address or call a phone number.
This means that the signals from the enterprises may become more personalized
and interactive with their customers. The most of the features of the media
are not able to achieve this personalization. However, they encourage viewers
to participate in more reactive, interactive or personalized channels. They
are able to ensure, that such disclosures would be consumed by interested customers.
Other communications with customers are dynamic including, that digital or
physical location of a person is enough to achieve communication. Digital communication
can be identified when a person has visited a page and this information is able
to be used in order to find out what viewers are now interested. In a general
context, interactive marketing systems were developed to such an extent, that
allow large companies to achieve the best possible relationship with their customers,
offering numerous choices to meet their needs (Chaffey and
More familiar with the TV concept and without the need of being an IT expert,
the audience has the ability to interact easily with the concept and content
of iDTV (Lee and Lee, 1995). This interaction is mostly
concerned with shopping, browsing through VOD and advertising concepts, banking,
gambling, playing games sponsored by brands. In this way, there is a real participation
to broadcasting programmes like voting or expressing their opinions as members
of a community, completing questionnaire and chatting. Text information services,
e-mail (with IPTV) and offline contact options are available to users/viewers
to communicate with other viewers (i.e., dating) or companies. They also present
a good way to advertisers to count the impact of their campaign as they get
the permission contact me from the user.
It is very important to create an interactive community and target this niche
market with new forms of advertisements like microsites, logos/banners or websites
illustration on screen or Dedicated Advertising Location (DAL, mini-DAL) formats.
That will enable impulse response to direct marketing promotional material like
coupons, samples or brochures. Furthermore, the old forms of advertising like
product placements in programmes, sponsoring, virtual advertising, on-screen
banner advertisement during programs and advertainment (a program totally made
by an advertiser) are also essential to increase brand awareness of a product
and improve costumers experience with a brand (Boddy,
2004; Deighton and Barwise, 2001; Deighton
and Blattberg, 1991; Smilansky, 2009; McDonald
and Wilson, 2002).
People using the TV box-set as a mean to calm and relax which is usually arouse
their emotions. For them its interaction aspect is not only a convenient and
instant way of buying or responding to a promotional or informational content,
it lets them to have the sense of control in marketers beleaguerment which
take place in traditional media (Stewart, 2004). On
the other hand, the emerged data of personal and household interests gives to
marketers a significant amount of advantages to turn in account such as direct
response to mass market advertising. They also offer highly accuracy to targeted
audiences according to the ad-hoc strategy of the company and access to those
who adopt an impulse decision making process to complete instantly their buying.
Furthermore, they increase the engagement of viewers, building positive brand
image and enhance the brands world of mouth impact in the formed community.
They reformulate an ineffective advertising strategy by measuring the achieved
goals, offer better promotional and customer service in a walled-garden
platform (as TV is perceived) in contrast to websites. Finally, they are allowing
to manage the primary objective of better money allocation avoiding the waste
of money on disinterest viewers or improper contents (Chaffey
and Smith, 2008). Nevertheless, advertisers seem to be mistrustful against
these opportunities mainly due to audience unfamiliarity with them, the luck
of their technology experience and the high cost these new advertising forms
are presented (Cauberge and De Pelsmacker, 2006).
Additionally, interactive DVB systems may enable end users to interact with
service provider by utilizing interactivity channels established between customers
premises and the broadcasting system (Mastorakis et al.,
2010). More specifically, interactive DVB-T (i.e., terrestrial systems)
networking architectures (Xilouris et al., 2002)
have been realized based on a generic interactivity model, enabling for the
provision of asymmetric data transfer among the service provider and the end
users. In such cases, DVB-T channel provides forward data traffic, while reverse
data traffic is transferred through several interaction channels (e.g., PSTN,
ISDN, DECT, GSM, GPRS, UMTS, xDSL, LMDS, MMDS) (Gardikis
et al., 2002, 2003). According to these configurations,
the service providers side may incorporate both an interactive service
provider and a broadcast one. The former may enable access to interactive multimedia
services such as video and audio on demand or may provide Internet facilities
such as WWW access, e-mail services etc. The latter is responsible for the distribution
of broadcast services, such as TV programmes, that utilize digital transmission
formats (i.e., MPEG-2). Both interactive and broadcast services are multiplexed
into one transmission stream and distributed to the users via the broadcasting
delivery media according to the DVB-T standard. Each user receives the multiplexed
broadcasts via a broadcast interface module (e.g., antenna, front-end amplifier
etc.) that passes the appropriate data to an end user module (TV receiver, PC
screen, PC station etc.) via a Set Top Unit (de-multiplexer, decoder etc.).
The users requests for interactive services are forwarded by the Set Top
Unit to an interactive interface module that may utilize wired or wireless access
technology depending on the interaction medias specifications. The interaction
media, in turn, passes the users requests to the integrated service provider
via the interactive network adapter that forwards them to the interactive service
An interactive DVB-T system may be also utilized to provide interactive services
to mobile users. UMTS Forum and DVB-UMTS Ad-Hoc Groups define proposals and
reports studying interactivity among DVB-T and UMTS for the provision of broadband
interactive multimedia and networking services (Cosmas et
al., 2002). Alternative solutions for the return channel in an interactive
DVB system may utilize LMDS or DVB-RCT (Faria and Scalise,
2001) in order to support interactivity to fixed users. Further GPRS has
also been proposed to be utilized together with broadcasting networks (Rauch
et al., 2001).
IP MULTIMEDIA SUBSYSTEM (IMS)
While the first generation of the Internet was mainly devoted to the transfer
of data to non-real time services, sophisticated systems and new services now
require interactivity and strict Quality of Service (QoS). Moreover, the requirements
for the provision of multimedia services are expected to increase in coming
years (Labed and Boufaida, 2007; Sharma
et al., 2006; Darvishan et al., 2008).
The move towards an all IP architecture for services and applications appears
to be a strong trend. In this context, customers seem to wish access to personalized
interactive multimedia services on any device, anywhere. This trend introduces
new requirements for a network infrastructure.
Towards fulfilling this requirement, the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) was
originally defined by the 3GPP and 3GPP2 wireless operators working bodies.
The main focus was to provide a new mobile network architecture that enables
convergence of data, voice and technology in a mobile network over an IP-based
network infrastructure (Kinder, 2005). The IMS was designed
to bridge the gap between existing traditional telecommunications technologies
and Internet technology and support operators to offer new and innovative services
that will attract new subscribers and maintain its existing base.
IMS is a core network architecture that enables communication between servers
and clients using open standards that support IP network interfaces and fixed-mobile
convergence. IMS consists of a layered and integrated architecture that manages
the media as it moves through the network and provides the systems integration
required to provide any IP multimedia services for and between any combination
of wired and wireless end users. The core network contains reusable functions
that manage media services in application servers. Application servers host
the services and IMS defines monitoring services, routing, protocols and the
loading processes across the network. The development of the IMS framework defines
how services connect and communicate with the underlying telecommunications
network. IMS also defines how services are integrated with the provider of systems
back-end (IP Unity, 2005).
One aim of IMS is to make the network management easier. Therefore, it separates
control and bearer functions. This means that IMS features an overlay service
delivery network on top of a packet switched infrastructure. Moreover, IMS should
allow the migration of Circuit Switched services like voice telephony to the
Packet Switched domain. As a result, IMS should lead to network administration
savings, because an all-IP integrated network is easier to manage. IMS is an
end-to-end architecture that must support several kinds of equipment. In addition,
IMS is intended to be access agnostic which means that service delivery should
be independent of the underlying access technology. Thus, the use of open Internet
Protocols is specified in IMS for better interoperability. The level of QoS
that can be provided in IMS networks determines the services that can be deployed
in such networks. QoS delivery is therefore critical in IMS networks. As a result,
QoS management functionalities are integrated in the IMS architecture (Bertrand,
Todays telecom users are increasingly demanding. They are more individualistic,
independent, informed and involved than ever before and they welcome services
that appeal to their emotions as well as their practical needs. New, exciting
services and enhancements to existing services have a key role to play in making
the communications experience much more like interacting face-to-face. New advanced
terminals and communication mechanisms adapted for user needs will enable this
and hide technical complexity (Ericsson, 2001). Users
are now used to access information, entertainment and other content-rich services
through a variety of channels. Telecom operators have a great opportunity to
integrate and extend the multimedia experience through new highly personalized
person-to-person, person-to-content and group services. The widespread adoption
of mobile telephony, SMS and Instant Messaging shows how readily users adopt
services that fulfill an emotional need to communicate in a variety of ways.
Commercially available IMS services are still in their infancy and providers
are working on the implementation of IMS in both networks and users
side. As usually, implementations may face interoperability issues since the
IMS specification is flexible to allow differentiation, as stated in. In particular,
QoS solutions are not enforced by the specification, although QoS requirements
are well defined. Other non-technical challenges include defining the business
model. As IMS enables the provision of commercial services by the operator and
third parties, another challenge is defining billing schemes for charging services,
as the value chain and impact on final services price have to be determined.
Operators are likely to create an IMS broker, interconnecting operators
and third-party service providers via SLAs (Service Level Agreements), so agreements
would only take part between the IMS broker and each operator and service provider,
simplifying the commercial scenario.
However, the success of IMS or any other convergence enabler technology depends on the provision of value-added services that take advantage of all the core services it provides (presence information, session transfer, QoS, etc.). Currently, all the IMS services planned are ports of existent services like the voice service, walkie-talkie (Push To Talk), presence and instant messaging, etc. thus not showing the advantages of the convergence yet. Maybe new highly interactive multiuser multimedia applications like online gaming and collaborative work will unleash the power of IMS.
This study investigates novel interactive broadcasting systems, able to provide
multiple interactive multimedia and Internet based services utilizing Digital
Video Broadcasting advances. Additionally, it elaborates on the study of IP
Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) as a promising solution, that may be adopted in next
generation networks and broadcasting systems, providing advanced capabilities
and added value data services. Taking into account the advances in both research
fields, it proposes the convergence of interactive broadcasting systems with
IMS which may result to a novel research paradigm, able to be adopted in interactive
marketing field. The proposed concept may enable for a more efficient process
of collecting and analyzing feedback data from users/viewers which is vital
for optimum marketing purposes. This might be the answer to the one of the top
priorities in the marketers wishing list. That is to move forward to one
to one marketing communication with the desired audience, gain their attention
and interest, create their desire and end in the covetable impulse or well thought-out
action of buying.
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