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Comcast expands reminder service

Nets get option to push programs to viewers

TV tune-in campaigns are getting a tune-up.

Comcast is selling the option to networks buying commercials promoting upcoming programming to carry interactive overlays that allow subscribers through their remote controls to either command their DVRs to record the show being marketed or receive an on-screen reminder when it airs.

The application, known as Remind-Record, converts the traditional TV spot into an opportunity for viewers to act on the impulse the marketing message creates. While Remind-Record has been experimented with over the past few years on such distribs as EchoStar, Comcast is giving it broader exposure through a nine-market deployment that began in February and has since expanded.

“Up until now, you didn’t have scale on technology like this,” said Craig Woerz, co-founder of Media Storm, the media-planning agency that has teamed up with Comcast Spotlight, the MSO’s ad sales division, to offer Remind-Record to networks.

Media Storm has signed up cable channels from Food Network to truTV to employ the technology to drive tune-n to its shows. Data has shown that ad recall rates are six to 10 times greater for programs employing Remind-Record than spots without it. Click-through rates on the functionality are 4%-5% of all spots that run with the overlay, which may not sound like much but do better than online ads with similar marketing messages.

Eric Dobratz, marketing director at Speed Channel, found encouraging results when they used Remind-Record to drive tune-in to shows like “Car Warriors.” “Given that it’s a cluttered environment, it allow for immediacy to be able to just click that button,” he said, noting Speed would expand its usage to support the premiere of an upcoming program, “Adam Carolla’s The Car Show.”

While Comcast alerts viewers to either trigger a DVR recording or set a reminder, the latter functionality becomes especially important to advertisers looking to have their marketing messages drive sampling to program premieres.

“It’s almost as if the DVR has been empowered too much,” Woerz said. “We want to optimize the reminder piece so it’s disruptive as an opportunity to get people to watch at a given day or time.”

Remind-Record requires Comcast subscribers to use the MSO’s set-top box and DVR to make use of the application.

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