Breaking the stranglehold that broadcasters and video distributors have had on TV advertising, Sony will be serving ads directly to customers who've purchased its Internet-connected TVs, a capability enabled by Rovi.
Sony signed up for the Rovi Advertising Service (part of the latter's Cloud Services operation). Rovi will sell and deliver ads via Sony's Bravia line of TVs in the U.S.
Even Web-based content companies hewed to the old model, inasmuch as they are video distributors. To that end, they can be considered direct rivals using an alternate means of delivery.
But any company that produces a product simultaneously capable of displaying video and connecting to the Internet can now insert themselves in the process. In other words, companies that do not actually distribute the video can now insert ads into the viewing experience through their guides and search engines.
Rovi is currently conducting a field trial of just that capability, aimed at figuring out how to deliver ads through connected TVs, Blu-ray players and other Web-enabled devices. Sony is apparently joining that effort, in which Carnival and interactive advertising specialist BrightLine were already participating.
"Smart TV advertising takes consumers beyond sitting and viewing advertising on a TV screen to actively choosing to learn more about products and services that the consumer is interested in," said Jeff Siegel, senior vice president of advertising at Rovi. "With the addition of Sony Bravia TV to our Advertising Network, we are working with Sony to offer advertisers more creative capabilities to connect with the consumer."