Paying the freight on 'free' VOD

Fri, 03/31/2006 - 7:00pm

Operators have offered so-called "free" VOD fare for several years, leveraging it as a retention tool, to add value to the digital tier, and as a way for consumers to grow comfortable using VOD without getting charged for it.

Although cable has embedded ads to help pay the freight on VOD, the process has been clunky and cumbersome. New technologies and systems, however, promise more accurate targeting and an overall easier and more automated way to handle the process.

Comcast Spotlight, the ad sales arm of Comcast Cable, is among the early ones taking a stab at on-demand advertising and looking at its ability to create a new revenue stream for VOD.

Using the Tandberg Television AdPoint platform, Comcast Spotlight said it will automatically splice ads directly into VOD content. The company said the move marks "a major advancement in how advertising will be delivered to consumers."

And it is past the trial stage.

"Anyone with VOD (from Comcast) will be getting these ads," said Braxton Jarratt, Tandberg's SVP of business development and marketing.

Though in just the early phases of the rollout, Comcast initially will insert ads into VOD titles from networks operated by the MSO, including SuccessTV, Music Spy Videos and DriverTV.

Enlisting this capability with networks owned and controlled by Comcast offers a way to start the VOD ad placement process, Jarratt explained.

Initially, the system will enable Comcast to target ads geographically, starting with some national advertising.

AdPoint, a product Tandberg acquired via its purchase of N2 Broadband, handles the production, management and placement functions of "non-linear" advertising. The system is comprised of a Campaign Manager, Media Manager, and the Xport Producer, which marks "advertising opportunities" within on-demand assets.


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