Programme involvement and interactive behaviour in interactive television

Shalom Levy
Bar-Ilan University

Israel D. Nebenzahl
Bar-Ilan University


The recently introduced technology of interactive television (known as ITV in the US, iTV in some European countries), also known as enhanced, advanced, customised, individualised or personalised television (ITV Dictionary & Business Index 2006) is leading to significant changes in television advertising. This technology brings the familiar one-to-one two-way communication capabilities of the internet to television media, where the television screen replaces the computer monitor and the TV remote control acts like a mouse. The broadband capabilities of cable and satellite TV facilitate the identification of signals coming from the television set of each subscriber and responding directly to it. Given this technology, ITV advertisements can include icons and, using the remote control, the viewer can move a pointer to the desired icon on the screen. Clicking a certain key on the remote control activates the software represented by the corresponding icon. In modern ITV programming, at the beginning of an advertising break, all viewers receive the same advertisements. When a viewer clicks on an icon, his/her ITV enters the interactive one-to-one communication mode and the normal programme stream is temporarily suspended for that viewer. While in interactive mode, the viewer can flip between information pages, view short demonstrations of the advertised product and even place a purchase order or pay a bill. When the viewer terminates the interactive mode, the regular programme continues (ITV Dictionary & Business Index 2006).