Captive Viewers+Demographic Knowledge+Location Awareness= AppleTV2’s Targeted Local Ads?

While reporting on Apple’s mobile strategy at MacWorld I was enamored by the elegance and usability of Apple’s AppleTV2.

It solved a problem that we didn’t know we had (how to avoid driving to BlockBuster), was easy to use, very cool and consistent with Apple’s overall strategy of using the computer (or 2) as the center of the personal digital information flow.

It also struck me that Apple already had all of the elements in AppleTV2 that would make for compelling local ad delivery: location awareness, attentive audience, knowledge about tastes & interests, a credit card on hand (just one click away), demographic information and more that I hadn’t thought of. I dismissed the idea as it seemed that Apple was not even remotely discussing the idea. I should have known better than to think that Steve Jobs would leave money on the table.

This recent patent review from AppleInsider opened my eyes to both the incredibile potential of the idea and the thought that Apple had obviously put into the idea. The patent reviews the use of context sensitive widgets that can pop up on your TV screen as a funtion of the music that you are listening to or the video that you are watching. These widgets could be preprogrammed into the media or if “the content is broadcasted, such as live television, then a widget could potentially be downloaded as part of the broadcast signal from a cable head-end, or provided through a separate communication such as an Internet connection, and then displayed over the content.”

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“For example, while the user is viewing a musical performance a ticket widget can be displayed over the content or elsewhere in the user interface, which can be access by the user to purchase concert tickets or receive other information related to the concert or performer,” Apple said. “In the example shown (below), the widget could be triggered by a marker in the content which corresponds with a portion of the concert where the performer is not performing, or can be based on a period of inactivity (e.g., the DVD player is placed on “pause”). In some implementations, the widget can be displayed as part of a DVD menu system.”

The user could also invoke an iChat video session in a window on the TV screen with several friends. “Apple said widget interface could also include is a list of individuals currently online, as well as other controls, such as links to web sites and other resources that include information that may be of interest to the participants.”

And to top it off? Apple would even add second button the AppleTV2 remote so as to facilitate end user interaction. This device has the potential to change local advertising and the nature of the Super Bowl Party for ever.

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