“I consent to watch this advertisement in exchange of…”

I’m a big fan of Hitesh Raj Bhagat’s Sunday ET mobile game recommendations (last page of Sunday ET). I like most of the games he has recommended even though I’m not a regular gamer – I like trying them out briefly, marvel at/enjoy the nuances/design and retain only very few games on my phone.

Like Jump Drive, for instance, that Hitesh had recommended once. Last year, he had recommended a game called ‘It’s Full of Sparks’.

It had a very interesting concept and some of the nuances are so beautifully thought through that it is almost poetic (that I started trying the game after watching the Netflix original film Annihilation (based on the novel of the same name by Jeff VanderMeer) could explain some of the poetic’ness of it – particularly the glasses concept that changes your life’s perspective inside the game: if you wear the glasses inside the game, you see something that you didn’t see previously!).

The most interesting part is the way advertisements are served.

The ads do not impede the users’ attention like standard advertisements. They are unwanted, no doubt, but they are served when the user has a need, for extra lives to continue playing. So you ‘put up’ with the ads grudgingly because there’s a pay-off for you at the end of it.

I wonder why this consent and pay-off based tactic isn’t used more often, online and on TV.

Online, for instance, a magazine could show 10% of a piece of content, ask us to watch a video (say 1 minute long) that unlocks the 90% remaining content. If the ad served is also contextual, that’s even more appropriate.

On TV, particularly on the default/home channels, brands could work with say a Tata Sky to incentivize views of an ad. The more ads they watch, the more content they can unlock on Tata Sky (say 25% of a paid film, 50% of a paid service etc.).

I do understand that this tactic needs individual logins – these are interactive and based on the interactivity, they take on highly customized threads, and perhaps need local storage too, to remember what was consumed, offered and store those settings locally or in the cloud.

On the web, this is reasonably easy; not so easy on DTH. But it is not impossible either. They can tie this with the mobile app of the DTH brand – let the users install the app and do the viewing on the mobile (which has a perennial login) and the ‘winnings’ can be transferred to the users’ DTH accounts that eventually mirror in the DTH on TV. That’s one solid way to increase use of DTH brands’ mobile apps, incidentally!

On a related note, here’s a new Kickstarter project by MoviePass cofounder Stacy Spikes. It’s called PreShow. Here’s how it works:

Once you sign-up (it’s by-invitation-only), you install the PreShow app and select a movie you want to watch, in theaters. PreShow sends you a 15 to 20 minute PreShow video of branded content! You watch the content fully, and the app’s proprietary facial identification software confirms you did watch the content (you can start and stop at any time, continue later etc.). When you fully watch it, you get your free ticket for the film you want to watch – could even be first-day-first-show – PreShow claims there are no blackout periods, including Saturday nights or opening weekends!

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