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Charter test makes ads dynamic, on-demand

Mon, 11/20/2006 - 6:28am
Jeff Baumgartner, CED

Charter Communications Inc.'s hometown of St. Louis is the site of a pilot that will test the mettle of dynamic, on-demand advertising.

The field test, which follows the completion of a lab trial, is tapping the help of several vendors in the VOD and advertising food chain, including Atlas On Demand, C-COR Inc., Harmonic Inc., and TVN Entertainment Corp.

The field test, launched in late October, also includes participation by Ogilvy North America and Mediaedge:cia.

In the trial, commercial content is being placed in pre- and post-roll positions around "free" on-demand content supplied by Hollywood.com Television and Vehix.com.

Sessions are also created as customers order them, but allow for ad copy updates without the need for costly re-encoding and re-distribution, according to the parties involved.

Before this more flexible method, spots tied to VOD content were spliced in ahead of time, forcing advertisers to commit several weeks in advance and to run more generic messages.

"Charter is now taking dynamic ad insertion to the next phase, which means deploying it as a field pilot focusing on delivering dynamic on-demand advertising built instantly in response to viewers' desires, all based on play lists by viewer sessions," said Todd A. Stewart, Charter's corporate VP of national advertising sales and development, calling the pilot "a breakthrough that entirely changes the landscape of on-demand television advertising." 

The companies involved claim the trial marks the largest media market so far to deploy such a service. 

Of recent note, Sunflower Broadband of Lawrence, Kan., announced an on-demand ad campaign in partnership with MTV Networks, Atlas On Demand, and the MSO's primary VOD server and software supplier, SeaChange International, in September. Mediaedge:cia also participated in the Sunflower Broadband campaign.

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