Foxtel, the Australian pay television network, has launched its first interactive TV advertising, based on OpenTV software.

The first interactive commercials are for Toyota and Commonwealth Bank. They follow similar interactive television commercials in the UK, where there have been over five hundred interactive campaigns.

Multi Channel Network, a joint venture between Foxtel, Austar and a number of digital channels, is managing the campaigns.

With a click of the red button on their remotes, viewers will be able to select additional features to view or request product information.

The first interactive campaigns are being delivered using OpenTV software. “Our interactive advertising solution ensures that Foxtel Digital viewers will receive advertisements that are not only informative, but also tailored in a way that allows them to create their own experience and see features or retrieve materials that are relevant to their interests,” said Mike Ivanchenko, managing director of OpenTV for the Asia and Pacific region.

Patrick Delany of Foxtel said “The launch of interactive advertising on Foxtel Digital builds on the control we give our subscribers over the content available on our platform, while giving advertisers a new and unique way of communicating with the consumer segments that matter most to them.”

“The introduction of interactive advertising is the start of the biggest innovation in television advertising in Australia since the inception of television in 1956,” said Anthony Fitzgerald, chief executive of the Multi Channel Network. “It brings a significant number of benefits to both viewers and advertisers, including a more creative, relevant and targeted communications environment, as well as greater control and accountability in relation to the results of a campaign.”