Sony, Matsushita, Hitachi, Toshiba and Sharp have agreed upon broadcasting interactive ads for TVs with Internet access.
The companies plan to set up a joint venture. Japanese viewers will be able to see the commercials from autumn this year. The companies will produce online content like news, weather and so on that users can access via their TVs.
In addition, a selection of banner ads will be displayed. If the viewers click on them with their remote control, a full-length ad (or CM as they are called over here). It is yet unknown how the users will be incentivized to just do that!
However, in Japan commercials have a different appeal than in the west. News shows sometimes even feature “Making of”s of TV CMs. In many cases, actors or actresses are introduced to the public through ads, followed by a career.
Some CMs have a huge online following as well, fueled by a number of CM otaku (yes, there are people like that living here).
I hope to get some screenshots of the ads and how they are displayed on this blog soon. The experiment (let me call it that) is Japan-only.
Japan will switch its analog TV system completely to digital in 2011. The industry predicts 100 million TVs will be sold in the country until then (Japan has a population of 127 million). Of these 100 million TV sets, approximately 70% will be ready to access the Internet.