Microsoft announces NUads for Xbox, customer plans

Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) this week formally announced availability of its NUads interactive-TV advertising platform for Xbox Live, along with three major advertiser customers already working with the new format.

The software and game console giant said Toyota (NYSE: TM), Unilever (NYSE: UN) and Samsung Mobile USA are the first companies using NUads to develop 30-second interactive TV spots that will debut this fall.

The new platform allows Xbox Live users to engage with the TV ads  by using their Microsoft Kinect voice and gesture controls. For example, in the Toyota "Reinvented" ad being developed, viewers are asked what would like to see reinvented, and can use Kinect to immediately provide feedback that Toyota may use for future ad campaigns.

Microsoft has been edging into an interactive-TV advertising sector that the cable-TV industry has mostly stumbled around in for the last several years.

Like earlier concerns that Microsoft could empower broadcasters to bypass cable-TV providers to launch their own virtual cable services through the Xbox platform, there has been some concern about how the company's ad strategy would impact the cable-TV industry's own efforts. However, the fact that Microsoft also is offering content from providers like Comcast through the Xbox should help assuage concerns, somewhat.

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