Microsoft tries to reinvent TV ads in Xbox Live overhaul

A Kinect-enabled "Branded Destination Experience" for Garnier Fructis inside the Xbox Live dashboard.

Microsoft’s overhauled Xbox Live dashboard, rolling out this week, marks the start of a new effort by the company to change the way people interact with ads on television screens, using its Kinect motion sensor.

The initiative shows how Microsoft is trying to grab a larger slice of the TV advertising market as it continues to expand its Xbox 360 console beyond video games.

According to a Microsoft Advertising blog post this morning, the new dashboard is launching with more than 100 campaigns known as Branded Destination Experiences — portals within Xbox Live dedicated to specific advertisers, letting people use Kinect gestures to interact with the content.

It’s a first step toward a new type of TV commercial that Microsoft calls “NUads,” where people will be able to use voice commands and gestures to interact with an ad — for example, telling the console to find a nearby retailer selling the advertised product.

Within the revamped Xbox Live service, Microsoft says it will also be working with entertainment providers including the Today Show to sell standard 30-second television ads inside their content on Xbox Live. The ads will be similar to those on broadcast and cable television, but sold specifically for the Xbox Live experience.

“This makes Xbox LIVE the largest next generation TV platform to offer advertisers the ability to purchase 30 second TV spots within entertainment content,” writes Microsoft Advertising’s Shawn McMichael in the post. “It also makes Xbox the only place on TV where advertisers can use the power of gesture to engage with audiences.”

The effort dovetails with Microsoft’s move to increase the amount of television content available in the new Xbox Live dashboard.

  • Guest

    Tis is going nowhere fast. Great for advertisers, but do I want to A) have more ads rather than skip them with my TiVo and B) be forced to interact wi them as well? Good luck with that.

    • Guest

      TiVo, like Microsoft, makes money in part by selling ads. No matter how many you skip during programming, there will be more ads ready for you as you surf through the menus. Heck, TiVo even records ads for you in the middle of the night!

      • Guest

        On Tivo, you don’t have to watch the ads, they are in their own UI ghetto, and you choose to look at them or not.  The amount they make from them is negligible.

        • Guest

          The amount of attention you give them is negligible. The amount of data you produce is massive. That data is processed, aggregated, and sold by TiVo to (drumroll please) advertisers!

          You may not be watching the ads on your TiVo, Matthew, but they’re watching you.

    • Johnderosa

      Hey, they should have just asked you first.

    • Johnderosa

      Hey, they should have just asked you first.

  • NotoneofTCsaliases

    Does any customer really want to interact with ads?

  • NotoneofTCsaliases

    Does any customer really want to interact with ads?

  • Don Olson

    If an agency can get users to interact with branded destination sites on the web, they surely will succeed in this space. The numbers may not be as large, but the demographics are changing and will probably encompass the older user more and more.