back to article ITV gets adverts into video

ITV is trialling technology to allow advertisers to insert logos within video footage - in empty spaces such as sky, walls or fences. The technology, provided by Californian firm Keystream, uses object and motion detection to search for suitable spaces to display the ads within video footage. It is currently being trialled …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Eponymous Cowherd

    When will they learn......

    That seriously *pissing off* prospective customers is *not* the best way to get them to buy your stuff!

    Advertising executives. First up against the wall come the Revolution.

    On second thoughts, sod the revolution, line 'em up right now!

  2. Iain
    Thumb Down

    Worst idea ever.

    So, the beautiful (Italian) vistas with 'big skies' in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (or any other brilliant Western) will be filled with images and logos of washing powders and cars?

    What a bunch of everyabusivewordimaginabletards.

  3. Michael

    Try using the "off" switch

    ITV realise that the viewers don't want advertisements and so their answer is to insert them into the programme contents, the so-called "empty spaces". With ads already taking up to 18 minutes per hour the "off" switch is being used in my house with increasing frequency. The empty spaces seem to be between the ears of the ITV directors.

  4. Jim Carter

    A nice idea with the technology

    Just not sure about the application, that's all. Perhaps an opt-out option might be an idea?

  5. Nic Brough


    As I understand it, they're layering adverts over spaces in videos which effectively alters what the users see.

    Is this not effectively modification of content? Can the authors of the original opt-out so that their users see what the authors intended them to see?

    Also, if someone would be kind enough to write me some sort of black list, so that I, as an end user, can choose to ignore things that have been adulterated by unwanted and irrelevant adverts? I don't mind adverts that don't get in the way (banners and boxes on websites), but you stick something in an "empty" space in a video, or popup/under, you can count me as one less customer, whatever the product.

    Mine's the one with Adblock Plus, a Tivo and a pair of scissors in the pocket.

  6. Adrian Jones

    I can just imagine it.

    The Starship Enterprise boldly flying past McDonalds and Pizza Hut logos.

    That should help drive down ITV's market share even more than the crap programmes they're already showing.

  7. Steve Kay

    Not enough adverts?

    It's not that we were ignoring the adverts, there just weren't enough of them.

    Now I get it.

    Fuck off, ITV.

  8. The BigYin
    Thumb Down


    Can you imagine some of the juxtaposition snafus that would lead to?

    I don't watch much broadcast telly any more - it's mostly shite.

  9. Simon Buttress
    Thumb Down

    Oh FFS

    “We’re trialling it online, where it’s a manageable area and allows us to get feedback from both advertisers and viewers. It gives us another tool in the arsenal, and it’s subtle.”

    Here's some feedback, ram it up yer arse. Another reason not to visit their website and another reason on the very long list of why advertising & marketing types should F.O.A.D.

  10. dervheid

    How many 'actors' faces...

    would end up covered in ads?

    Suggestions for 'candidates' anyone?

    Note. Be aware of libellous comments. You never know when a lawyer may be reading!!

  11. Richard Porter

    Pissed off

    Yes I too get seriously pissed off by being advertised at. What I really want is some technology that recognises fixed information on the screen - like a station logo - and covers it up with information from the surrounding picture.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    > Perhaps an opt-out option might be an idea?

    I know, we could make it cookie based opt out!. Oh, wait...

  13. Andrew

    Sounds like...

    ... ITV have created another good idea to use pirate sites. Way to go - maybe you can add some DRM to royally piss off your customers a bit more?

  14. Gav H.


    I'd rather watch an empty space than endure ITV's current output. Without ads of course.

  15. Ian Ferguson
    Thumb Up


    All that empty black space in Star Wars can finally be put to good use.

  16. Killian

    Not suprising...

    ...if you've ever used, you'll be familiar with their total disregard for their visitors' desire to view actual content. Full screen pop-ups, expanding flash ads, chopping up video content then top & tailing all the snippets with 'sponsors messages' - it's all there and even with AdBlock, it's an excruciating experience.

  17. Tim Spence
    Paris Hilton

    RE: Try using the "off" switch

    The "off" switch is going a bit far I think - a better suggestion I think is just to avoid the button labelled "3". That, or the sequence of kicking back, changing the input to component, and hitting the big X button on the Xbox controller.

    Paris, because I'd like to press all her buttons.

  18. Simon

    Horrible idea

    After many years of surfing the web my brain seems to have trained my eyes to hop over adverts on webpages as I'm reading, you get me to read a page and I couldnt for the life of me tell you what the bulk of the adverts were.

    We also have those adverts which scroll into the viewing area of the webpage, my brain has now also trained my eyes to looks for the "X" and click on it without reading the advert text so I can continue reading the rest of the page.

    I suspect everyone else does this, I wonder if there has been any studies done on it.

    "Webpage advert eye contact avoidance"

    So ok Mr Brain, you are going to have to transfer those Ninja ad avoidance skills onto watching the TV now.

    You know what kind of adverts I do notice, those bloody obvious ones in between breaks in TV programs, I admit they work, even if I dont buy the product (Yeah the next level of study, do adverts on TV actually work?) So maybe they should just keep it simple.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the future.....

    give it time.....

    Poncho - "You're bleeding, man."

    Blain - "I ain't got time to bleed."

    Ad starts - "....yes and its normally about NOW I have a POT NOODLE! Yes just add water and in 30 second you have a delicious and nutritious snack... etc etc."


  20. Matt Devney

    The is no such thing as empty space

    The video maker shot it like that for a reason. Not to get some digital fly-poster using it to flog stuff.

  21. Tim

    Empty spaces

    On Big Brother contestants' heads, right between the ears? The walls of Jeremy Kyle's studio? Whatever, it won't be on anything I watch anyway.

    I don't understand why advertisers haven't used their vaunted "creativity" (they're Mac users after all) and simply made adverts that look good at 12x speed so you still 'get' them when you're zipping through on your PVR. Next time you do that at home you'll immediately see what I mean - some work, with long enough scenes that you can register what's happening, while some don't and just flash by in a jittering, blurry mess of writhing colour.

    (If some scumbag adman is reading this, that idea is mine and you'll have to pay me a lot for a license.)

  22. Mike Crawshaw


    FFS, can these people not get it through their moronic fucking skulls that people are trying to get the fuck AWAY from this continuous bombardment of bullshit advertisements in everything we see and hear??? That's why AdBlock, NoScript, Tivo etc are all so popular, and the base concept has been increasing in popularity ever since someone first thought up "I know, I'll go for a piss during the adverts!!!"


    Mine's the one saying "NOT A TARGET MARKET" on the back!

  23. Wokstation

    @Nic Brough

    That's why it's only user-generated content, I expect - they don't wanna risk the wrath of the media lawyer...

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Product placement?

    Well, product placement is already regulated, how is this different?

    What if the advert happened to appear on a washing powder box for instance?

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Awful idea

    I wish I watched ITV just so I could stop watching them. But I don't watch reality TV or old fictional people complaining about life.

    Adverts positively turn me off products, have done for years, and it just increases the more intrusive they are. I hope the channel dies a quick death.

    /Goes back to his torrents and DVDs

  26. Nev

    Bill Hicks had it right...

    ""By the way, if anyone here is in advertising or marketing... kill yourself."

  27. Andy Livingstone

    Added adverts

    This is dangerously close to "subliminal", which I thought was illegal.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    This will work as well as their Catch-Up service then

    That's implemented using Silverlight and is rubbish. It makes you watch two or three ads before each "chapter" of a program, but usually gets into a loop showing the ads over and over again and never starting the program. After about half an hour of trying to restart the stream, and skip to the next chapter (being forced to watch all the ads yet again), I normally give up and watch something on iPlayer instead. Been waiting about a year for them to fix it.

  29. Anonymous Coward

    Licence-fee haters?

    Stick that in your pipe and smoke it!

  30. Anonymous Coward

    No free lunch

    I'm not exactly defending this as a great idea (distinguishing the ad from the content would be my main concern), but for all those saying how much they despise it, remember that without advertising then much of all that lovely "FREE" content we consume every day on t'web (inc. this website) wouldn't be here, or at least not without you dipping your hand in your pocket.

    ANd yes ITV might produce mostly guff nowadays, but I'm sure you can all name a classic/fondly remembered series produced by them at some point in your lives. That was paid for by all those soap and beans ads as well. Come to think of it, there are a lot of old ads (the Smash robots anyone?), turned into content themselves and being watched as entertainment,on YouTube...

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    This isn't quite the whole story...

    Saw an early whitepaper and demo a while back. It's actually much, much smarter than the basic version being shown off here - last I saw, they were working towards intuitive shape recognition.

    Say there's a billboard advertising something in a movie. It can spot it and replace it automatically, and change the ad's perspective and coloration to match (not precisely, but not bad).

    Say there's a tailplane of a rival airline (which were famously hacked off by BA censors in Casino Royale when all the planes were supplied by Virgin). Badabing, your airline's livery magically appears on every plane. (or, if you prefer, Ha Ha Got You You Beardy Nutter).

    So while the unsubtle way ITV are using it is pretty unattractive, it could be put to far, far more subtle and insidious purposes.

  32. SinisterDexter
    Thumb Down

    Carpet vs. ITV

    My living-room carpet has more interesting content than ITV - and is free from advertisements (apart from the curry house menus lying around).

    Advertards indeed...

  33. Vincent
    Thumb Down

    Never watch ITV anyway...

    It's a good job that I never watch ITV then because of all the complete crap that they broadcast.

    Although it'd be nice if they could stop bombarding us with adverts all day long.

    Headcases might have been the only good thing that they have ever broadcast.

  34. Eponymous Cowherd
    Thumb Down

    Re: No Free Lunch

    No, there is no such thing as a free lunch. But the advertisers haven't merely shot themselves in the foot, they have machine-gunned the bloody thing right off.

    And they *keep* firing even though both of their feet are blown away, along with most of their legs, in the vein hope that their aggressive advertising techniques *might* start working.

    They won't.


    "t'web" is a prime example. If advertisers had stuck to *reasonable* ads, nobody would mind. But they didn't.. They naively assumed that they could shove garish in-your-face ads at web users, stupidly thinking that the larger, more garish and obnoxious they made the ad, the more likely it is to get noticed.

    They got noticed all right. People *hate* them. But the big difference between the web and other advertising mediums (tv, radio) is that people *can* do something about them. The ad-blocker was born.

    Now a large number of web users block all ads by default. So the stupidity of the advertising twerps has resulted in people blocking *all* ads, not just the really annoying ones.

    You would think they would learn from this and 'tone down' the ads, but oh no, they come up with schemes to defeat ad-blockers and even deny access to people who use them. Or come up with privacy violating schemes like Phorm.

    Personally I give each site *one* chance. The first pop-up, animated or flash-based ad I see and the whole site get all ads blocked.

  35. Allan Rutland

    But this doesn't address the problem...

    that ITV has...that no one want's to watch the crap they show...because it is simply crap! They show such awful stuff, thereby no one watchs, and thereby the advertising funds go out the window as no one watchs them.

    Fix the content and the viewers will come. Don't find new ways to lose even more viewers.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mixed feelings

    In the US, we get ads superimposed onto the grass in sports, and logs inserted all over the place when companies sponsor programming. Then we get 3 minutes of ads for every 5 minutes of show time. I really miss ITVs 3 minute commercial breaks every 15 minutes, with just enough time to put the kettle on!

    Cool would be if I was watching Top Gear (yes I know it's BBC), I could click on a car, and be taken to the website for that vehicle, or in a cooking show, I could click on ingredients, and be taken to those websites. Subtlety in advertising is what is required, not blatancy. They will get the right people responding to the ads as only people who are interested will respond. Give it a change before you pull it to pieces.

    I don't want ads where they don't need to be, but imagine if in the Corrie, there's a billboard in the shot, as a advertiser, I should be able to buy that billboard and put whatever I want on it, or change the beer in the rovers for my brand and pay for that or whatever.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Possibly one of the shittest ideas ever dreamed up !

  38. Joseph Gregory

    On TV soon

    A spokeswoman for ITV was at pains to point out that there are no plans to transfer the technology to broadcast TV. But don't hold your breath as we will ASAP.

    The answer is email anyone who advertises and say, I will not buy your product!

  39. Paul

    oh yes and...

    Now there is a reason to put :

    "this space inentionally left blank" IBM were on to something after all...

  40. Paul

    @-coward with mixed feelings

    "imagine if in the Corrie, there's a billboard in the shot, as a advertiser, I should be able to buy that billboard and put whatever I want on it, or change the beer in the rovers for my brand and pay for that or whatever."

    You really have been in the US for too long, for two reasons:

    1You want to watch constipation street, and 2 you seem to WANT product placement.

    Come back before its too late (and FFS keep away from ITV till the doctor tells you its ok)

  41. Karl Rasmusson

    ITV writing the appendix...

    ... for eBay's "How to Piss Off Your Customers So Much That They Leave" book...

    Bloody TV spammers... if they think ads are so welcome, why not ditch the programs altogether and show ads 24/7.

  42. Anonymous Coward

    wtf has it got to do with you...

    why do some people feel it is there place to make comment on what does not concern them or affect them in any way...

    so many people have made comment along the lines of "i dont watch itv, its crap, nothing worth watching.... but how dare they to plug adverts in content i dont want to watch..."

    if you dont watch itv, or use the itv catch up piss back to the gardian...

    IMHO, i watch very little on ITV, but what i do watch i accept that the adverts have paid for it. so what if i have to zip through the adds on my sky+ box such is life.....

    mine the one with the tv remote in the pocket....

  43. Steen Hive


    Where are all the AntiTVLicenceTards on this thread then?

    Maybe they are recovering from being held down and having ads tattooed on their retinae.

  44. Dave Morris

    Advertising as a necessary evil

    As I see it Adverts are a necessary evil; to allow for free programming. However my view on this is not simply that advertising is good.

    The only instances where adverts should be used is where the programming is free. This means that any pay-for cable/satellite/web services should not have advertising - if I'm paying to see it, then the excuse that you have to have ads to pay for it is lost and now you're just being greedy. Publicly funded TV IS being paid for by the viewers as well, so ads have no place there.

    Now that I've somewhat narrowed the media that should have advertising at all, I'd say the next most important thing is that advertising should be subtle. It should not interfere with the suspension of disbelief required to enjoy fiction and it should not distract from the information flow involved in non-fiction. As far as I can see, putting ads in the sky or random "blank" spaces is completely contrary to this concept. Commercial breaks are almost as bad, however. I think the best thing is subtle product placement and/or product integration. When this is done poorly it is horrible, though still not as bad as a giant logo floating in the sky (or, for that matter in the corner of the screen where so many networks put their own logos). If media creators could create the shows with a technology liek the one in the article in mind then a very subtle sort of dynamic product placement could be achieved. Whenever a creator felt that a space could be used for a product placement, then they could create the image with placement, shading, and coloring hints so that any appropriate product could be integrated. If this was done well, and tastefully, then it would not be as obtrusive as most other advertising. It may, however require quite a bit of experimentation and practice to get it right, especially with more complex placements. For example, a placement spot for a billboard is relatively easy; a placement spot for a sedan would be quite a bit trickier. Both, however, I believe could be accomplished. This kind of scheme would allow subtle advertising that could be adjusted for different markets and for different viewing dates (for instance, all of the cars in a 3 year old rerun could be updated to newer models that are made by the sponsor for the rerun, rather than the original production).

    The biggest problem I see is with children's programming. Children tend to be more impressionable than (most) adults. This means this sort of subtle integrated type of advertising may have an undesirably strong effect on them.

  45. Anonymous Coward

    ITV's lost it.

    Opt-outs and all that can be promised and probably will be and I'm sure the hands-off OffCOn will let them get away with it. Opt-outs and the like wont work, never will - why.. because the whole economic model will re-adjust itself to take into account the extreme cheapness of ruining content with adverts (advert-actors out of jobs). Sad people will scowl and say, without these adverts there wouldn't be this, well.. so be it.

    ITV is on an economic road to hell - it's sold its soul to bingo long long ago. Cheap scummy 'reality' shows might surge but long term, they need viewers not people who are happy for it to be a noise in the corner of the room. In my personal opinion of course. I pause on 3, while passing through the channels, just to remind myself how poor and irrelevant it;s become.

    However, if they do it, so will others and they'll ruin anything they can with their taste-free version of democracy. Sell me freedom, as the shares are now worthless.

  46. M

    My solution to the current problem

    I tend to only watch stuff I have recorded on my sky plus box. When an ad break comes on, I exit the program, and add 5 minutes to the current time, and go straight back into the program.

  47. druck Silver badge
    Gates Horns

    Worse than Gates

    This is a worse that Bill Gates' idea of a TV service which was to have the program showing on one side of the screen, and "interactive content" (read adverts) on the other. At least with that you could have put a blanket over one side of your widescreen telly, and watched fairly unmolested crap in 4:3 on the other. But knowing the bastard that he is, he would have swapped over which side was which all the time.

  48. Richard Porter
    Jobs Horns

    Why not...

    use the blank spaces in ads to show other ads, and the blank spaces in those ads to show more ads? That way you could condense all the ads into one 30s slot and save us a lot of pain.

  49. Michael

    Not enough ads!

    Can I just say that there are simply not enough ads for comparison websites being shown.

    Perhaps we need a few sites to compare the comparison websites?

  50. A J Stiles
    Thumb Up

    @ M

    Yes,that's what I do, too. Select the station in time for the programme I want to watch, pause it for about ten minutes (strictly, the total duration of advert breaks in programme minus the amount of time I'm likely to spend freeze-framing and rewinding) then start watching when I am good and ready.

    Sky Plus costs, for sure; but I look upon the subscription as a fee I pay in return for advert-free telly on the non-BBC channels and the ability to watch what I want, when I want, the way I want, without having to go through the bother of setting up MythTV.

  51. Anonymous Coward

    "Perhaps we need a few sites to compare the comparison websites?"

    Pure genius! I propose a 50/50 venture;

    We search the world to compare EVERYTHING AT ONCE, from apples to insurance to thai ladyboys, all in one easy to use advert laden, flash heavy behemoth.

    You in?...Anyone??

    Oh well, better log on to that taxi comparison site I keep hearing about then...

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like