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Sony wants you to scream brand names at the TV to skip their dull commercials

Published: 19:22, 20 January 2023
Sony own a patent for interactive commercials
Sony own a patent for interactive commercials

Sony register a patent for an interactive commercial system that allows viewers to skip ads by screaming the advertiser's brand name at their TV during commercials.

A very fascinating patent was published on the official Google Patent website, demonstrating the future of television advertising and live interaction between viewers and the programme in which they are participating.

The complete patent, called "System for converting television commercials into interactive networked video games," whose inventor is Gary M. Zalewski and current assignee Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC, is widely documented on this webpage.

Among the several advertising solutions represented in this patent, the image from Figure 9 piqued our interest the most, demonstrating how users can let the commercial know they got the message by yelling the name of the product, McDonald's in this case, and the ad will automatically stop, allowing you to enjoy the rest of your time in front of the TV.

The inventor of this patent attempted to clarify the process of live interaction between the viewer and the content he is watching by referring to Figure 9. In the first image, the viewer is enjoying the movie, and the progress bar indicates that the ad break is approaching. 

The progress pointer in the second image arrives at the IC location (Interactive Commercial). The viewer will next see text instructing him to "Say McDonald's" to finish the commercial. The third image depicts the viewer saying McDonald's, and the microphone built into the TV or other device recognizes his voice and determines that the viewer answered. Finally, the fourth image shows the viewer returning to the movie as the rest of the commercial is skipped.

Google Patents The process of Interactive Commercial shown by patent maker The process of Interactive Commercial shown by patent maker

Given that Sony owns this patent, the question is whether it will represent a method of advertising on Sony's consoles in the future. Advertising in video games is becoming increasingly common, though it is still subtle and not as intrusive as it is in television programmes and on platforms such as YouTube and other social media. 

Without a doubt, video games are a massive medium, and advertising in them is a relatively untapped opportunity. It remains to be seen if Sony will decide to take the initial step in this direction.


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