New research suggests that interactive TV advertising in the UK is increasing in maturity and in importance for branding campaigns.

The research has been published by IDS, the interactive digital sales division of Flextech Television, which represents a number of television channel brands, including Trouble, Bravo, Challenge and the UKTV channels.

Mark Connolly, manager of interactivity at IDS said it “definitely shows that interactive TV advertising is in a healthy state and is a rapidly maturing medium. It also highlights where we need to focus to continue to improve our product for customers”.

The survey is based on over a hundred responses from advertising agencies. Of those that had used interactive advertising, 57% rated their experience as positive, a significant increase on the previous year. Three quarters said they would definitely use the medium again in the future, again a rise on the previous survey.

According to the respondents, there has been a shift in emphasis from response to branding, with dedicated advertiser locations, or DALs, replacing impulse response adverts as the format with which advertisers and agencies were most satisfied.

The main advantages are seen to be brand experience and viewer engagement, while cost is still perceived to be an issue. Despite Zip TV entering the market and Sky lowering their prices last year, there is still the perception that costs are too high and more competition to Sky is needed. This especially seems to be a barrier to entry for new and smaller advertisers, and many respondents are asking for cheaper testing opportunities for new interactive campaigns.

Creativity is a growing concern. There was a demand for more involvement of the creative agencies. As one respondent put it: “I’d like to see more involvement from my creative agency in exploring the opportunities available through interactive advertising.”

There is still a demand for more education and information on return on investment, which is seen to be the responsibility of the sales houses.

The second annual online survey of the advertising industry was complied by Media Intelligence. The full report on Interactive TV – A Maturing Medium is available from the IDS web site.