No, it's not one of those spam scams. ReacTV, an online/cable content company, is rolling out an interactive game-show service that has a clever technology to prevent you from ignoring its advertisers: It quizzes you on the content of commercials and rewards you for the right answers.
Since the whole network is based around game shows (trivia, Wheel of Fortune-like games, and so on), what's one more question based on something you probably just watched? If you answer questions on ReacTV correctly--based on your own trivia knowledge, game-show skills, or recollection of facts from commercials you've just seen--you win points that can be redeemed for prizes. The company is putting 30 percent of its advertising revenue into the prize pool.
With technology like this, there's no need to worry about people skipping over commercials. Give people a few shekels, and they'll likely watch anything. Test them on it, and they'll probably even pay attention. Furthermore, the data from the quizzes can get analyzed and reported back to the advertisers, telling them which messages get through to consumers and which don't. It's sneaky. And it's smart.
ReacTV's game shows will run simultaneously on the Web (at 77.tv) and on cable TV. A cable carrier announcement is coming on August 1--not coincidentally the 25th anniversary of the launch of MTV.
The company is also releasing a cool new universal remote control, the REMO [see picture], that has Wi-Fi technology built into it. This will allow the remote to act as a console for the games, as well as display information about what you are watching (sports stats and electronic program guides). You'll also be able to program it easily from a Web site, the company says.
Tidbit I can't resist: The company's core advertising technology is called the Consumer Rewarded Advertising Vehicle (CRAV), and according to the press release, the patent is filed under the moniker of the CRAV Reactive Ad Process (you figure out the acronym). I guess you can get a patent for anything these days.